Satellite Images Show Iran Oil Tanker Sought by US Off Syria

Satellite Images Show Iran Oil Tanker Sought by US Off Syria”

Behrouz Kamalvandi, the Iranian nuclear agency spokesman, told a press conference: "We have started lifting limitations on our research and development imposed by the deal ..."

The 2015 pact curbed Iran's disputed nuclear programme in exchange for relief from sanctions, but has unravelled since the United States pulled out of the pact a year ago and acted to strangle Iran's oil trade to push it to make wider security concessions.

Iran's atomic energy spokesman says Tehran is injecting uranium gas into advanced centrifuges, in a further breach of the 2015 deal with world powers.

"We continue to believe that we need to be enforcing our sanctions to the maximum extent possible", the USA official said when asked about Iran's decision to start developing centrifuges to speed up its uranium enrichment.

Since US President Donald Trump withdrew from an worldwide nuclear deal with Iran in the spring of 2018, Americans have imposed more sanctions on Iran, especially against the export of Iran's main source of revenue, crude oil.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani warned earlier this week that Tehran's imminent steps away from the 2015 accord "will have extraordinary effects".

This week, reports emerged that the United States had offered several million dollars to the captain of the Iranian oil tanker to steer it to a port in a country that would detain the ship on behalf of the United States, the Financial Times reported, citing emails that the top USA envoy for Iran had sent to the vessel's captain.

She was speaking in Paris after talks with her USA counterpart, Mark Esper, who said he was not surprised at what Iran was doing.

European efforts to save the deal have been stymied by the severe USA restrictions on Iran's banking and financial institutions, which have made it hard for the worldwide community to do business with Iran.

The steps announced Saturday, which echoed a letter that Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, sent to the European Union on Thursday, appeared to be intended more to give Iran negotiating leverage than to significantly further its development of a nuclear weapon.

Rouhani added that Tehran would reduce its commitments every 60 days unless the Western signatories helped protect Iran from US sanctions against sales of oil - the country's main source of income - which have fallen 80%.

However Rouhani on Sept 3 said that while Iran would never hold bilateral talks with Washington, it could join multilateral talks between Iran and other parties to the accord if Washington lifted all the sanctions it reimposed on Iran.

Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation said it had activated 20 IR-4 and 20 IR-6 advanced centrifuges.

Kamalvandi also said Tehran would be working on "new types of centrifuges".

As the first step, Iran increased its enriched uranium stockpile to beyond the 300 kilograms set by the JCPOA.

He said the U.S. and other IAEA member states were "eager to get a full report as soon as possible". Iranian oil products such as liquefied petroleum gas and naphtha are covered by US sanctions but Iran has continued to ship large volumes to worldwide buyers.

Maxar's supplied image shows the tanker Adrian Darya 1 very close to Tartus on September 6.

Meanwhile, John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser, tweeted on Friday a satellite image which, he said, showed Iran had broken its word about the destination of an oil tanker at the centre of the mounting tensions between Washington and Tehran.

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