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Iran Ready to Abandon Nuclear Deal

Thursday 30 August 2018

TEHRAN (Bloomberg, Al-Jazeerah) — Iran’s supreme leader warned the country might abandon its nuclear deal with world powers, casting doubt on the ability of European states to save the accord following the US withdrawal.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet on Wednesday they “should give up hope on [Europe] over economic issues or the nuclear deal”, according to his website. “The nuclear deal is a means, not the goal, and if we come to this conclusion that it does not serve our national interests, we can abandon It”t, he was quoted as saying. Iran would never negotiate with “indecent and confrontational” US officials on a new agreement, Khamenei said.

While the Trump administration’s re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran earlier this month seized the headlines, a more significant date is Nov. 4, when the truly crippling penalties — including those on Iranian oil — will return. If the sanctions are to have the desired effect on Iran’s economy and behaviour, Washington has just weeks to lay the groundwork by issuing clarifications, filling loopholes, and more actively helping U.S. partners find alternatives to Iranian oil.

One of the primary challenges involves Iran’s high-volume sale of a type of ultralight oil known as condensates, which are by-products of oil and natural-gas production. There are two types: Lease condensates are derived from the production of crude oil during the fracking process, while plant condensates come from natural gas and crude oil refineries. Both types are termed “petroleum products” by the U.S. for the purposes of Iran sanctions, but are not considered crude oil.

Following US President Donald Trump’s exit from the important international accord to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions, European powers have scrambled to ensure Tehran continues to receive economic benefits needed to keep it in compliance. Khamenei set out a series of conditions in May for European powers if they wanted to keep Iran in the deal. They included steps by European banks to safeguard trade with Tehran and guarantee Iranian oil sales.

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