Iranian President Hassan Rouhani He said his country It is enriching more uranium than Tehran before reaching a nuclear agreement with the world powers in 2015.
“We are enriching more uranium before the agreement was reached … The pressure has increased on Iran but we continue to make progress,” Rouhani said Thursday in a televised speech.
Iran has gradually reduced its commitments under the nuclear agreement, signed with the US. The US, China, Russia, Germany, France and the United Kingdom, in retaliation for the Washington government. withdrawal of the pact in 2018 and its reimposition of sanctions that have paralyzed the country’s economy.
Earlier this week, the United Kingdom, France and Germany challenged Tehran by breaking the limits set in the agreement.
Inside the base attacked by Iranian missiles
European nations Announced which activated the dispute mechanism provided for in the historic agreement to force Tehran to fulfill its commitments under the agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA).
On Thursday, the main EU diplomat, Josep Borrell, had direct “frank” talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in New Delhi.
“In a frank dialogue, they discussed the latest developments around the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan,” the European Union said in a statement.
The face-to-face talks on the sidelines of a conference were the first after a series of phone calls since a US drone attack killed Iranian chief general Qassem Soleimani on January 3.
EU officials have said that Iran has already expressed its anger over the European movement by phone.
‘Prevent military confrontations’
Tensions in the region have declined in recent months after a series of attacks in the Gulf region that the United States blamed on Iran and aligned groups, despite Tehran’s denials.
Fears of a military escalation skyrocketed in early January after the murder of Soleimani in an air strike in Baghdad, which caused Iran to fire a barrage of missiles at a military base that housed US troops in Iraq.
In his speech on Thursday, Rouhani said that Iranian reprisals, which caused significant material damage but not victims according to the US military, had strengthened Iranian deterrence against the “threats” of US President Donald Trump.
But despite continuing tensions, Rouhani said that Tehran was working daily “to avoid military confrontation and war” and that dialogue with the world remained “possible.”
The 2015 nuclear agreement imposed restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for a postponement of international sanctions.
After unilaterally withdrawing, the United States has again imposed a series of sanctions on Tehran and has called for negotiations for a new agreement.
Iran has rejected the idea of negotiating a new agreement while under sanctions.
In response to the US measure, Tehran began enriching uranium above the limit agreed in the agreement and took additional measures to improve its nuclear program, while also accusing the European parties of the agreement not to fulfill their own commitments to provide economic relief to Tehran.
Iran had been enriching uranium with a purity of 20 percent before signing the agreement, which limited the enrichment to 3.67 percent.
Al Jazeera’s Assed Baig report from Tehran said Rouhani had sent a challenging message to the world, saying that Iran is reducing commitments, but also added that these reductions are reversible if European countries return to their obligations with that agreement.
“He is telling European countries that they need to face the United States,” Baig said.
“These sanctions have affected Iran’s oil sector, the banking sector and the economy and he accepted this: that Iran’s oil exports have been reduced, but the economy continues to function, according to Rouhani.”
Rouhani defended the 2015 nuclear agreement in his speech by saying: “We have demonstrated in practice that we may interact with the world.”