Iran Parliament Speaker: Tehran Will Continue Enrichment in Line With JCPOA

Iran Parliament Speaker: Tehran Will Continue Enrichment in Line With JCPOA

"The decisions today enhance our ability to constrain Iran's nuclear program while pursuing maximum economic pressure", Brian Hook, the State Department special representative on Iran, told CNN on Friday.

U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled Washington out of the 2015 nuclear deal in May 2018 and ordered reimposition of sanctions against Iran. Highly enriched uranium can be used to fuel a nuclear weapon. Tehran denied the charges.

Despite the USA withdrawal from the nuclear deal in 2018, other signatories including France, Germany and the United Kingdom have vowed to remain a part of the deal.

According to nuclear inspectors, Tehran has kept its nuclear program within the main limits imposed by the accord.

As part of the agreement, Iran was to sell any enriched uranium above that threshold on worldwide markets in return for natural uranium, with Russian Federation a key player. It was also allowed to store excess heavy water produced in the uranium-enrichment process in Oman.

At the same time, the State Department said it was ending two waivers related to Iranian exports of enriched uranium in what it called "the toughest sanctions ever on the Iranian regime".

On Friday, the USA extended its waivers from 90 days to 180 days.

Facilities included in the waiver extensions include the Bushehr nuclear power plant, the Fordow enrichment facility, the Arak nuclear complex and the Tehran Research Reactor, the State Department said.

However, it warned that sanctions could be imposed on countries if they provide assistance to expand the Bushehr facility beyond the one existing reactor.

It is nearly a year since President Donald Trump reimposed crippling USA sanctions after exiting a landmark nuclear agreement between major powers and Iran.

"Under the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), Iran can produce heavy water... and based on the agreement, we have not carried out anything in violation of it. It is clear that over this period there has been a serious adaptation to this illegal trick by the United States", Tasmin News Agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying.

In November, Washington snapped back sanctions on Iran's banking, energy and shipping industries, while granting 180-day waivers to eight of Iran's major oil buyers, including South Korea, Japan and Turkey.

On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called his country to "resist and unite" against U.S. pressure in what he termed a "war on hope" waged against the Islamic Republic, the Al Jazeera reported.

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