Places sanctions on international network involved in Iran nuclear program

Clay Curtis
July 20, 2019

Iran on Thursday signalled a willingness to engage in diplomacy to defuse tensions with the United States with a modest offer on its nuclear programme that met immediate skepticism in Washington.

Iran dismissed U.S. President Donald Trump's assertion that the U.S. Navy destroyed one of its drones. The Treasury said the purchases violated United Nations restrictions on materials that can be used for nuclear programs.

"If they fly too close to our ships, they'll continue to be shot down", the Trump administration official said, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity.

However, since Iran is already implementing the protocol and has often offered in the past to ratify it, it was not clear that Zarif's proposal constituted much of a concession.

Tensions in the Gulf soared after the United States withdrew a year ago from world powers' 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions to strangle Iran's oil trade, with Tehran retaliating by unfettering its disputed nuclear program. That would be the same time that the U.S. must seek permanent termination of many of its sanctions on Iran. "We're confident", the official said, adding that a video of the incident could be released. It said they are based in Iran, China and Belgium.

"Of course, Iran will want something serious in return".

Asked whom Washington would need to hear from in order to have negotiations over Tehran's nuclear activity, the official said: "I would say the supreme leader or the president".

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Iran has enriched its uranium past 3.67% (the previous limit) and has now exceeded the 4.5% mark.

Former US officials saw a diplomatic opening.

In a diplomatic memo leaked last weekend, Britain's former ambassador to Washington suggested that Trump quit the 2015 deal for "ideological and personal reasons" because it was associated with Obama.

Richard Nephew, a former US official now at Columbia University, said Zarif surely knew Washington would reject his idea.

"Today, the United States designated 12 entities and individuals based in Iran, Belgium, and China that are linked to the nuclear proliferation-sensitive activities of the Iran Centrifuge Technology Company - known by its Persian acronym, TESA", United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in a press release.

Iran's Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday in NY to discuss the situation around an Iranian supertanker seized by the British Navy, Reuters reported, citing the IRNA news agency.

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