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Iran Enriching More Uranium than before 2015 Deal: President

Addressing the 59th annual meeting of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), President Rouhani said Tehran faces no restrictions today when it comes to atomic energy. “Today, [uranium] enrichment is carried out more than that time [before the deal was reached] and we did not stand idly by. If they [the other deal parties] reduced their commitments, we did so as well,” Rouhani added. He said when US President Donald Trump chose to pull his country out of the multilateral nuclear deal, Iran remained patient and refused to make the same “mistake.” Iran, instead, urged the remaining parties to the deal to compensate for Washington’s exit and told them that “if they make up for [the US exit], we would stay in the JCPOA, and if they fail do so, we will, in turn, reduce our commitments,” Rouhani said. Rouhani said Iran adopted the “right policy and did the right thing,” prompting the entire world — even the Europeans themselves and Trump’s own friends — to condemn the US president’s move as “wrong.” The Iranian president added that Tehran proved with the JCPOA that it seeks interaction with the world. Rouhani once again slammed the US president for violating the deal and unilaterally pulling out of it, saying Trump’s “unpredictable” behavior has caused troubles not only for Iran, but the whole world. The Iranian chief executive also criticized the US for threatening the European parties to the nuclear deal — France, Britain and Germany — and pushing them to withdraw from the accord. Rouhani’s remarks came after The Washington Post reported that Trump’s administration had threatened to impose a 25-percent tariff on European automobile imports if the trio — known as EU3 or E3 — refused to formally accuse Iran of violating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The report was published shortly after the European trio said in a joint statement on Tuesday that they had triggered the JCPOA’s dispute mechanism, which amounts to a formal accusation that Tehran had broken the terms of the deal. The European measure could lead to the restoration of anti-Iran UN sanctions, which had been lifted by the JCPOA. The US under Trump left the JCPOA in May 2018 and restored the sanctions that it had lifted. The UK, France, and Germany also bowed to the sanctions and refused to meet Iran’s business interests under the deal despite an earlier pledge to do so. Trump has been critical of the agreement and called it the worst deal ever negotiated, proposing new negotiations to reach a “better” accord. This comes as the JCPOA has been endorsed by the UN Security Council as a resolution. Elsewhere in his Thursday’s remarks, Rouhani said Iran has grown stronger than ever despite all the international pressure facing the country and will continue to tread the path of progress despite US plots and economic sanctions. Rouhani further hailed Iran’s recent move to target the US airbase of Ain al-Assad in Anbar province in western Iraq in retaliation for the US assassination of senior Iranian military commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani. It is very rare that a country “stands up to the US and openly launches missiles against an important American military base in the region,” he said, adding the attack forced the US “to retreat from its threat.”

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