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Iran’s nuclear chief warns patience is running out on EU pledges

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi has warned that Tehran’s patience is running out over the failure of the European Union’s economic pledges to deliver any “tangible results.”

According to Press TV, Salehi, who is in the Belgian capital of Brussels to attend the third seminar on peaceful nuclear cooperation, made the remarks in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday ahead of a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Brussels.

He said the EU’s efforts were encouraging but added: “We have not yet seen any tangible results.”

“So, they [Europeans] are promising us that they are doing their best to be able to translate all that they have said in political terms and to turn it into realization, in other words, to materialize what they have said,” Salehi said.

“So, we wait and see. But I will pass certainly a word of caution to her (Mogherini) that I think the period of patience for our people is getting more limited and limited,” he added.

“We are running out of the assumed timeline, which was in terms of months.”

US President Donald Trump withdrew his country in May from the multilateral nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and decided to re-impose unilateral sanctions against Tehran.

Under the deal, reached between Iran and six major powers – the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – Tehran agreed to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.

The Iranian nuclear chief further warned that Tehran has the technical capacity to resume its 20 percent uranium enrichment if it fails to enjoy the economic benefit of the JCPOA.

“It is very easy for us to go back to what we were before – even to a better position,” he said. “We can start the 20 percent enrichment activity. We can increase the amount of the enriched uranium.”

Salehi noted that Iran is currently limited to 300 kilograms enriched uranium but can increase the amount, adding, “And so, there are so many other things we can do, but I wish that we never reach that stage.”

Under the 2015 nuclear agreement, Iran stopped producing 20 percent enriched uranium and gave up the majority of its stockpile.

Elsewhere in the interview, the AEOI head said Iran welcomes EU efforts to establish a special financial vehicle for non-dollar trade with Tehran but only if it could preserve the country’s oil exports.