U.S. pres­sur­ing coun­tries to stop buy­ing Ira­nian heavy wa­ter: MP

Tehran Times - - POLITICS -

A se­nior Ira­nian par­lia­men­tar­ian says the Is­lamic Repub­lic is in talks with a num­ber of coun­tries to sell its sur­plus heavy wa­ter, a nu­clear byprod­uct, af­ter the U.S. de­cided to halt its pur­chases.

Tehran has to sell its sur­plus heavy wa­ter un­der the 2015 nu­clear agree­ment with world coun­tries which re­quires that the in­ven­tory not ex­ceed 130 tons.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion of former U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama an­nounced in late 2016 that it would spend more than $8 mil­lion to pur­chase Ira­nian heavy wa­ter but the Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump put a stop to the pur­chases last month.

Ac­cord­ing to Press TV, MP Mo­jtaba Zon­nour, who heads the Ira­nian Par­lia­ment’s Nu­clear Com­mit­tee, has said that Wash­ing­ton’s de­ci­sion breaches the spirit of the nu­clear agree­ment, known of­fi­cially as the Joint Com­pre­hen­sive Plan of Ac­tion (JCPOA).

“This Amer­i­can ac­tion is not a vi­o­la­tion of the JCPOA but it is in con­flict with its spirit,” he said Mon­day, ex­plain­ing that as per the text of the deal, the U.S. is not re­quired to buy heavy wa­ter from Iran.

“The Is­lamic Repub­lic should en­gage in mar­ket­ing to sell its heavy wa­ter and ne­go­ti­a­tions have been held with some coun­tries to that end,” Tas­nim news agency quoted him as say­ing.

The law­maker said if the U.S. prevents other coun­tries from buy­ing the Ira­nian heavy wa­ter or im­poses fresh sanc­tions in this re­gard, that will def­i­nitely con­sti­tute a vi­o­la­tion of the JCPOA.

Europe and Rus­sia are re­port­edly other clients of the Ira­nian heavy wa­ter but Zon­nour said cer­tain coun­tries in­ter­ested in buy­ing the ma­te­rial from Iran faced pres­sure from the U.S. and there­fore “backed down on their plans”.

Ac­cord­ing to the law­maker, Iran cur­rently pro­duces about 20 tons of heavy wa­ter a year, some of which is used do­mes­ti­cally and the sur­plus is trans­ported abroad.

Zon­nour put Iran’s cur­rent heavy wa­ter stock at 130 tons, the limit which should not be ex­ceeded un­der the nu­clear agree­ment.

“Part of this amount is kept in­side the coun­try and another part is trans­ferred to an area un­der Iran’s own­er­ship in Oman so that the heavy wa­ter stock does not ex­ceed 130 tons.”

Last month, the head of the Atomic En­ergy Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Iran (AEOI) Ali Ak­bar Salehi said the coun­try had trans­ferred 11 tons of heavy wa­ter to Oman in to­tal.

Iran, he said, had sold 70 tons of heavy wa­ter, adding talks were un­der­way with a num­ber of coun­tries, es­pe­cially Euro­peans, to sell more.

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