Iran Shoots Down a Third US Proposal to Restart Talks, Will Not Halt Uranium Enrichment

Iran has reiterated it will not stop enriching uranium to 20-percent purity unless the United States lifts the sanctions against Teheran. The move will extend the stalemate following the US exit from the Iran nuclear deal of 2015 as Washington has insisted it will lift the sanctions only if Iran comes to the discussion table.

"20-percent uranium enrichment is in line with Paragraph 36 of the JCPOA and will be stopped only if the US lifts all the sanctions," a senior Iranian official said, the PressTV reported.

'US Losing Time'

"The Biden administration is losing time, and if it fails to lift the sanctions soon, Iran will take the next steps, which will be further reduction of its JCPOA commitments," the official added.

Iran nuclear programme
ran Nuclear Deal Talks: US Secretary of State John Kerry (L), US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (2L), Robert Malley (3L), of the US National Security Council, European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini (C), Head of Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation Ali Akbar Salehi (2R) Reuters

This appears to be the third time Iran has rejected an unofficial US proposal to end the deadlock. Geopolitical observers believe that Tehran is probably going aggressive in its nuclear policy in order to force the western powers to goad the US into re-enacting the failed nuclear deal of 2015. However, the stalemate has only deepened, with President Joe Biden insisting that Iran must return to all its nuclear commitments before talks are re-started.

The latest Iranian rejection came after a report by Politico said the US is about to make a new 'offer' to Tehran to end the deadlock.

However, Tehran has said it believes the US just needs to make a political decision to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Work on Advanced Centrifuges

"No proposal is needed for the US to rejoin the JCPOA. It only requires a political decision by the US to fully and immediately implement all of its obligations under the accord and abide by UNSCR 2231," Tehran said at the United Nations.

Reportedly, under the proposal, Iran was asked to halt some of its nuclear activities like the work on advanced centrifuges and the enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity.

Natanz Nuclear Facility
Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant in Iran Twitter

In exchange, the US would offer some relief in the economic sanctions slapped on Iran. Politico said the details of the proposal were being worked out.

It was reported earlier this month that Iran was enriching uranium with a third cascade of advanced IR-2m centrifuges at its Natanz plant. Officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Tehran kickstarted the third cascade, even as confusion reign over whether the US and world powers will re-enter the nuclear deal negotiations.

Citing the IAEA report, Reuters reported that a fourth cascade of 174 IR-2m centrifuges has also been installed. The report further states that Iran is planning to install even a fifth cascade of IR-2m centrifuges at its underground plant.

'Ready to Pursue Mutual Return to Talks

The Biden administration refused to divulge more information on the latest proposal. "We have been clear that we are ready to pursue a mutual return to the [Iran deal] ... We have also been open that we are talking with our [international] partners ... about the best way to achieve this, including through a series of initial, mutual steps. We have been looking at options for doing so, including with indirect conversations through our European partners," the senior official told Politico.