Monday

20th May 2019

Iran agrees to suspend nuclear enrichment after European pressure

Iran has agreed to suspend its efforts to enrich uranium following talks with the E3 of France, Germany and the UK.

In a letter received by the International Atomic Energy Agency on Sunday, Iranian authorities committed themselves to a suspension of the activities that many see as a bid to produce nuclear weapons.

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Statements from western and Iranian officials apparently confirm that EU demands for suspension of enrichment activities have been met.

"We have agreed to suspend what the Europeans wanted us to suspend", Hassan Rowhani, head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council said on Sunday, according to media reports.

If it holds, the deal will come as a major boost to the EU’s common foreign policy and a vindication of the policy of constructive engagement.

A similar deal struck last year unravelled shortly after its agreement.

Brinkmanship

The move comes ahead of a major report on Iran’s nuclear activities from the IAEA.

The UN body is expected to issue a fresh report on Iranian nuclear activities later today that will form the basis of a discussion in 10 days time.

It was expected that if no deal was reached in the E3-Iran negotiations EU members of the board would cede to Washington’s demands to refer the matter to the UN Security Council, where Iran could face sanctions.

The report will now contain extracts of the letter sent to the IAEA by Tehran.

A second round of E3-Iran talks is now expected to look at easing trade between the EU and Iran as well as the EU helping Iran to develop its civilian nuclear programme.

It is hoped these talks will also lead to a full and permanent suspension.

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