(Bloomberg) — Iran will begin injecting gas into centrifuges at its Fordow research plant from Wednesday as it further scales back its commitment to the landmark nuclear 2015 deal with world powers in response to U.S. sanctions.President Hassan Rouhani said the steps would be reversed if European nations ensure Iran can sell its oil and reap the economic benefits promised by the international accord that was meant to prevent the Islamic Republic from developing an atomic bomb.The United Nations nuclear agency will still be allowed to inspect Iran’s activities, Rouhani said, including work at Fordow, which was to stop enriching uranium and be converted for other research under the deal. Centrifuges are machines that spin at supersonic speeds to separate atomic elements. They can be used to enrich uranium as well as other elements like xenon and iridium for medical and industrial purposes. There are 1,044 at Fordow.“Iran will continue to maintain and remain committed to behind-the-scenes negotiations,” Rouhani said at a business event in Tehran. “Sanctions should be lifted, Iran should be able to sell its oil with ease and have easy access to its money in banks.”Iran Adds Advanced Centrifuges in Further Weakening of Deal (1)European signatories say they remain committed to the nuclear accord but have struggled to devise a mechanism that would not expose European companies to penalties if they trade with the Islamic Republic.The standoff has prompted a surge in tit-for-tat attacks on Gulf oil facilities, drones and shipping traffic that raised fears of a new military conflict in the Middle East.Scaling BackIran has scaled back its compliance to the terms of the 2015 deal since May as it resists the “maximum pressure” offensive of U.S. President Donald Trump, who unilaterally left the accord last year and reimposed sweeping sanctions including the total ban on Iranian oil sales. Its latest measures come a day after the U.S. said it planned to sanction officials reporting to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, including his son.U.S. Sanctions Key Iranians Reporting to Supreme Leader (1)Iran first stopped complying with a 300-kilogram cap on the storage of enriched uranium and heavy water imposed by the accord, and then broke the 3.67% limit on uranium purity. On Monday, its nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said it had added a further 30 IR-6 centrifuges, which can enrich uranium 10 times faster than first generation machines.While officials said Iran had “set aside” limits on uranium enrichment, it has so far held off enriching to anywhere near 20%, the level required for research reactors. Weapons-grade uranium needs to have an enrichment level of 90% or higher. Iran denies its nuclear work is aimed at developing weapons.(Updates throughout with quotes, details.)To contact the reporter on this story: Arsalan Shahla in Dubai at ashahla@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net, Amy TeibelFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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