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Iran Ready for ‘Strong Step’ Away from Limits of Nuclear Deal
The renamed Iranian oil tanker is shown off Gibraltar on August 18 before weighing anchor for the eastern Mediterranean, where so far it has been barred from offloading its cargo due to threats from the US. (Johnny Bugeja/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran Ready for ‘Strong Step’ Away from Limits of Nuclear Deal

An Iranian government spokesman says the Islamic Republic is prepared to further disregard limits imposed on it by a nuclear accord if it cannot circumvent economic sanctions, including on crude oil sales, imposed by the United States. “Iran’s oil should be bought and its money should be accessible to return to Iran,” Ali Rabiei was quoted as saying by state television. “This is the agenda of our talks.” He was referring to negotiations with Europe aimed at finding a way for Iranian crude and other products to be exported without the involvement of a dollar-based system of trade. The 2015 accord lifted sanctions in return for guarantees that Iran would limit its nuclear activities to low-level, peaceful purposes, but last year, the United States withdrew and reinstated sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy. In July, Tehran took a first step by enriching its uranium stockpile beyond the 3.67% limit imposed by the accord. It also has gone beyond the limit on the size of its stockpile. It is unclear what the next step might entail, but last month, officials mentioned September 6 as a target date. Iran has been waging what some are calling a “war of the tankers,” having seized a British-flagged vessel to retaliate for an Iranian ship carrying crude oil being impounded by Gibraltar. That vessel was later released and renamed, but is currently said to be meandering around the eastern Mediterranean, with potential ports of call refusing it anchoring rights.

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