Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 August 2020

Iran says nuclear operations 'unaffected' by US ending sanctions waiver

Chinese and European companies are assisting with the redesign of the Arak nuclear reactor but work will carry on without them, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said

Iran said the US decision to end waivers that allowed some foreign companies to work on its civil nuclear projects would have no impact.

Chinese and European companies are assisting with the redesign of the Arak nuclear reactor, Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, told the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency (Irna). But Iran can build the required reactor types itself, he said, and also produce fuel locally or retrieve it from Russia “whenever we need it.”

The comments came after Russia on Thursday said the United States was acting in a dangerous and unpredictable way over the withdrew from a key military treaty and moved to ramp up pressure on Iran.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova made the comments after Washington announced it would end sanctions waivers for nations that remain in a nuclear accord signed with Iran. The remaining parties to the deal include Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

US officials also said they would walk away from the Open Skies Treaty, which allows each signatory's military to conduct surveillance flights over another member country each year on short notice.

"Washington's actions are becoming more and more dangerous and unpredictable," Ms Zakharova told reporters.

"The nature of this behaviour is clearly disruptive," Ms Zakharova said, accusing Washington of undermining international security.

She also criticised the United States for exiting the INF missile treaty last year and failing to commit to renewing the New START arms control accord with Russia, which is due to expire in 2021.

President Donald Trump in 2018 withdrew the United States from a landmark agreement under which Iran had drastically curbed its nuclear activities and reimposed sanctions on Iran.

On Wednesday, Washington said it was ending sanctions waivers for the countries remaining in the Iran deal, bringing the agreement further to the verge of collapse.

Last week Trump also announced that he planned to withdraw the United States from the Open Skies Treaty, citing Russian violations.

Updated: May 28, 2020 08:44 PM

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