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Tehran will "make a big step" in the nuclear deal if Europe does not offer new conditions, Iran says



TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran will "make a strong step" in its 2015 nuclear deal if Europe fails to offer the country new conditions by the deadline later this week, a spokesman said of government Monday as top Iranian diplomats traveled to France and Russia for last-minute talks.

Ali Rabbi's comments set a deadline set by Iran on Friday for Europe to offer him a way to sell his crude oil on the global market. The crushing US sanctions imposed after President Donald Trump withdrew America from the deal a year ago have halted those sales.

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The developments come after French President Emmanuel Macron surprised the summit of the Seven in France by inviting Zarif last week.

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Rabbi described Iran's strategy to reporters at a press conference in Tehran on Monday as a "commitment to engagement".

"Iranian oil must be bought and its money must be available to return to Iran," Rabey said. "This is the agenda of our talks."

It is not clear what the terms of the negotiations are. In theory, anyone caught buying Iranian crude oil will be subject to US sanctions and potentially excluded from the US financial market.

Iran has already exceeded the limits set by the deal. The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed last week that low-enriched uranium reserves in Iran still exceed the limit of the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, as the deal is known.

The UN agency also stated that Iran continues to enrich uranium up to 4.5%, above the permitted 3.67%.

Enriched uranium at 3.67% is sufficient for peaceful pursuits and is far below 90% weapons levels. At 4.5%, uranium can help power Iran's Bushehr reactor, the country's only nuclear power plant.

It is not clear what step Iran will take, although it may include the restart of advanced barriers banned from the deal or the additional accumulation of its uranium enrichment. Iran insists that the steps it has taken so far are easily reversible.

"We will announce the implementation of the third step in a letter to Europeans if Europeans do not violate the necessary measures by Thursday," Zarif said in an interview Sunday with Iran's ICANA parliamentary agency.

weapons in exchange for economic relief. It is compounded by the US's unilateral withdrawal from the deal and Washington's increased sanctions on Tehran, which have levied a tax on the Iranian economy.

This left the other signatories ̵

1; Germany, Britain, France, Russia and China – struggling to find enough incentives to keep Iran in the deal.

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In other news Monday, an Iranian oil tanker pursued by the US that travels across the Mediterranean is now off the coast of Tripoli in northern Lebanon. The marine tracking website MarineTraffic.com has shown that Adriana Darius 1 is moving slowly just outside the Lebanese waters after being stranded off the coast of Syria a day earlier.

USA. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the ship was linked to a Syrian refinery, which led authorities to seize the ship off the coast of Gibraltar in July. The United States has warned countries not to accept Adriana Dariya, which carries 2.1 million barrels of Iranian crude oil worth about $ 130 million.


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