Parliament Speaker: Iran to Keep Enriching Uranium Despite US Move

Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani on May 4 said Iran will continue to enrich uranium in accordance with the accord regardless of USA moves to put a stop to it.

"We are permitting the temporary continuation of certain ongoing non-proliferation projects that constrain Iran's nuclear activities and that help maintain the nuclear status quo in Iran until we reach a comprehensive deal that resolves Iran's proliferation threats", the State Department said.

The US will extend waivers that allow the remaining parties to the 2015 deal to conduct research and do non-proliferation work at three sites in Iran without fear of facing sanctions, according to the Department on Friday (May 3).

The United States, which a year ago withdrew from a 2015 Iran nuclear deal with world powers, has told buyers of Iranian oil to stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions.

The United States is deploying a carrier strike group and a bomber task force in Iran to send a "clear and unmistakable " message that any action against Washington will be dealt with "unrelenting force", said US National Security Adviser John Bolton on Sunday.

A day earlier, Washington had renewed five nuclear exemptions for 90 days, instead of 180, as in the past.

Iran has said it will continue uranium enrichment and heavy water production despite United States pressure on the Islamic republic to end it. "Therefore we will carry on with enrichment activity", the semi-official news agency ISNA quoted Larijani as saying.

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"We. take note with regret and concern of the decision by the United States not to extend waivers with regards to trade in oil with Iran", France, Germany, the UK and EU's representative said in a statement.

The Austrian Ambassador to Iran, Stefan Scholz, has said that Vienna rejects the USA sanctions against Tehran and seeks to expand ties and cooperation with the Islamic Republic.

"Under the [nuclear accord] Iran can produce heavy water and this is not in violation of the agreement".

"We note Iran's continued compliance with the JCPoA, as repeatedly confirmed by the IAEA", the statement says.

The Saturday statement by the EU, France, Germany and the United Kingdom said they "take note with regret and concern" the U.S. decision not to fully renew the waivers.

Last month, the Trump administration announced it would no longer renew sanctions exemptions that allowed China, India, Japan, Turkey and South Korea to continue importing Iranian oil.

Mahjoob Zweiri, director of the Gulf Studies Center at Qatar University, told Al Jazeera the U.S. move is aimed at stopping Iran from exporting oil. It also blacklisted Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps.

  • Sonia Alvarado