Iran says ready to slow uranium enrichment in exchange for sanctions relief

Iran says ready to slow uranium enrichment in exchange for sanctions relief

Tehran still committed to nuclear deal, but doesn't want to be sole implementer, says vice president, nuclear chief

By Basak Erkalan

ANKARA (AA) — Iran has said it may slow its uranium enrichment program if the US moves to revive a stalled 2015 deal that would also see economic sanctions on Tehran lifted, a Japanese news agency reported on Wednesday.

"If the US and the other signatories comply with their commitments, Tehran will lower the nuclear enrichment purity," Iranian Vice President and nuclear chief Mohammad Eslami told Tokyo-based Kyodo News on Tuesday.

Eslami said Iran was committed to the deal but did not want to implement it unilaterally.

Tehran increased uranium enrichment purity to 60% after a resolution last November by the International Atomic Energy Organization (IAEA) opposed to the country expanding nuclear activity. This was far above the 3.67% upper limit enshrined in the nuclear deal.

The IAEA urged Iran to be more transparent during investigations, while Iran has insistently denied claims of nuclear weapons development, saying its activities were peaceful.

Eslami said Iran was not at odds with the UN nuclear watchdog, asserting that political pressure misled the agency on how to handle Iran's nuclear issues.

He also voiced eagerness to restart Iran's collaboration on nuclear safety with Japan, underlining that Tokyo could benefit from Iran's nuclear sector. Iran plans to build six new nuclear power plants, he noted, adding that if Japan was interested, Tehran would allow it a role in its nuclear industry.

Tehran's energy sector has been hit by severe sanctions imposed by Western countries after Washington, in May 2018, withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed in 2015 between Iran and six major powers (Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the US).

Since the election of Ebrahim Raisi as president in 2021, efforts have been made to resurrect the accord, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, and lift restrictions on Iranian oil exports. However, disagreements between the key stakeholders have prevented this.

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