Publish date6 Dec 2020 - 15:31
Story Code : 484757

Riyadh pursues "permanent ban" against Iran's uranium enrichment

Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud has no opposition to US return to the Iran 2015 nuclear deal but that a "permanent ban" should be imposed on the country's uranium enrichment.
Riyadh pursues "permanent ban" against Iran
In an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica published on Saturday, he said that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) did not address Iran’s regional activities.

“We hope that all issues of concern to the Iranians will be confronted, chief among them the necessity to impose a permanent ban on uranium enrichment, and not to enable Iran to return to these activities in the past.”
Iran has repeatedly enunciated its nuclear program as exclusively civilian, subject to the most intensive UN supervisions ever.

Tehran signed the JCPOA in 2015 with six world countries, which led to the forging of close cooperation between the Islamic Republic and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

However, the administration of US President Donald Trump severely undermined the accord by abandoning it in May 2018 despite numerous IAEA reports on Tehran’s full compliance with the agreement.

Saudi Arabia supported Trump's unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA and his “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.

Tehran remained fully compliant with the JCPOA for an entire year, waiting for the co-signatories to fulfill their end of the bargain by offsetting the impacts of American sanctions on the Iranian economy.

As the European parties failed to do so, Tehran moved in May 2019 to suspend parts of its JCPOA commitments under Articles 26 and 36 of the deal covering Tehran’s legal rights.

US president-elect Joe Biden has pledged to rejoin the JCPOA, which was inked when he was the US vice president under President Barack Obama, if Iran returns to compliance.

Additionally on Saturday, the top Saudi diplomat told AFP that the Persian Gulf countries must be “consulted” if the Iran nuclear agreement is revived.

"Primarily what we expect is that we are fully consulted, that we and our other regional friends are fully consulted in what goes on vis a vis the negotiations with Iran," he said on the sidelines of a security conference in Bahrain's Manama.

"The only way towards reaching an agreement that is sustainable is through such consultation."

Asked whether the Biden administration was in touch about the issue, Prince Faisal said there were no contacts as yet, but that "we are ready to engage with the Biden administration once they take office".

Saudi Arabia is itself accused of pursuing secret nuclear activities amid concerns that the kingdom may process uranium and move toward the development of atomic bombs.

Back in August, The Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia, with Chinese help, has built a facility for extraction of yellowcake from uranium ore near the remote town of al-Ula.

The New York Times also said American intelligence agencies had spotted what appeared to be an undeclared nuclear site not too far from the town of al-Uyaynah.
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