"IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY: EUROPEAN EFFORTS TO IMPLEMENT ITS COMMITMENTS HAVE NOT ACHIEVED TANGIBLE RESULTS AND IF THE CONDITIONS CONTINUE AS THEY ARE, WE WILL IMPLEMENT THE FOURTH STEP."
No official data has been released yet about Iran’s 4th step of reducing its JCPOA commitments but some information can be inferred from the made remarks by the Iranian top officials.
According to Chief of Staff of the Iranian President Mahmoud Vaezi, a committee has been formed to investigate the probable options for the intended 4th step and the achieved conclusions will be reported to President Rouhani to be finalized and implemented.
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters that the fourth step will be announced by the President on the set deadline i.e., on November 7, 2019.
Although no official announcement has been made by the government about the details of the fourth step, the following can be deducted from the made remarks and statements:
Increasing enrichment level, having 2nd phase of Arak reactor operational
According to Salehi, Iran will unveil a chain of 30 IR6 centrifuges within the next days.
As he said, Iran is to add up to 45 percent to its enrichment capacity i.e., about 3,500 SWU will be added to Iran's current 5,600 SWU capacity.
“Iran had 2,300 kilograms of enriched uranium before JCPOA and the figure now stands at 1,700 to 1,800 kilograms,” Salehi said, noting that the country is snapping back to its pre-JCPOA level.
The country was expected to take such measures in the 8th year of implementation of the nuclear deal but it is now increasing both the percentage and capacity of the enrichment.
This can be translated as Iran’s warning to Europeans.
Accordingly, some experts believe that Iran will unveil the said chain as its fourth step of reducing JCPOA commitments.
Regarding Arak heavy reactor, Salehi announced that the second phase of the project, which is its major part, besides its refueling machine will come online in near future.
Unveiling IR7, IR8 & IR9 centrifuges
In addition to Salehi’s remarks, those of President Rouhani will also suggest some information.
In his press conference on October 14, Rouhani announced that IR7, IR8, and IR9 centrifuges will be unveiled and become operational in the near future.
Experts assume that regarding Iran’s third step, when IR5, IR4, IRM2, and IRM6 modern centrifuges became operational for research purposes (uranium enters them and enrichment is carried out), President Rouhani’s remarks may refer to what Iran is to do in the fourth step.
Considering all the made statements and remarks of Iranian senior officials, the country’s fourth step of reducing JCPOA commitments may include: unveiling chain of 30 IR6 centrifuges, increasing enrichment level, running the second phase of Arak reactor as well as installing its refueling machine, besides unveiling IR7, IR8, and IR9 centrifuges.
In 2015, Iran and six major powers (five member states of the United Nations Security Council — Russia, the United States, France, the United Kingdom and China — and Germany) agreed on the final Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which particularly stipulated the removal of sanctions imposed on Tehran over its nuclear program.
On May 8, 2018, US President Donald Trump announced Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal. Washington imposed previous sanctions on Iran and introduced new ones.
In response to the US move to leave the JCPOA and reimpose sanctions, Tehran has so far rowed back on its nuclear commitments three times in compliance with articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, but stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as European signatories to the accord find practical ways to shield the mutual trade from the US sanctions.
Iran says that if it does not receive economic benefits from the JCPOA by November it will further reduce its commitments.
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