Iran Uranium Plant Stalls as Talks on Nuclear Deal Inch Forward

48 Arsalan Shahla and Golnar Motevalli

Iran said that a uranium metal factory that was scheduled to become operational this month still isn’t ready, a possible sign that talks over the country’s nuclear deal with world powers are poised for progress.

Abolfazl Amouei, spokesman for parliament’s national security commission, said the plant is in the final stages of development and will be launched “when the time comes,” state-run Young Journalists’ Club reported Sunday.

Amouei acknowledged the Biden administration wants to revise former President Donald Trump’s tough stance toward Iran, but said his country would press on with its current nuclear program unless it secures “the lifting of sanctions and ensuing verifications.”

Iran and the U.S. are engaged in indirect talks in Vienna to re-establish the 2015 agreement that was abandoned by Trump three years later.

It’s unclear if the heavy metal project — which conservative lawmakers included in a law intended as retaliation for U.S. sanctions — was being intentionally held up.

Iran’s hardline parliament has managed to wield substantial influence over President Hassan Rouhani’s negotiating efforts using the anti-sanctions law.

The legislation also sought to end international inspections of Iran’s nuclear plants and ordered authorities to ramp up uranium enrichment to record levels.

(Updates with quote and more detail.)



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