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EU, UK condemn US oil and nuclear sanctions on Iran

London

THE United States' allies in Europe have criticised its recent decisions to restrict oil trade with Iran and to limit the extension of waivers for nuclear non-proliferation projects.

"We . . . take note with regret and concern of the decision by the United States not to extend waivers with regards to trade in oil with Iran," Britain's foreign office said in a joint statement with its German and French counterparts and the European Union. "We also note with concern the decision by the United States not to fully renew waivers for nuclear non-proliferation projects," Britain's foreign office added.

Washington acted on Friday to force Iran to stop producing low-enriched uranium and expanding its only nuclear power plant, intensifying a campaign aimed at halting Teheran's ballistic missile programme and curbing its regional power.

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However, Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani was quoted as saying on Saturday that Iran will continue with low-level uranium enrichment in line with its nuclear deal with world powers.

"Under the (nuclear accord) Iran can produce heavy water, and this is not in violation of the agreement. Therefore we will carry on with enrichment activity," the semi-official news agency ISNA quoted Larijani as saying. The Fars agency carried a similar report.

The United States also scrapped its sanctions waiver that had allowed Iran to evade a 300-kg limit on the amount of low-enriched uranium it can store under the nuclear deal at its main nuclear facility of Natanz.

Washington said the move was aimed at forcing Teheran to end its production of low-enriched uranium, a demand Iran has repeatedly rejected as it says it uses the uranium to help produce electricity.

The United States also said it would no longer waive sanctions that allowed Iran to ship to Oman for storage heavy water produced at its Arak facility beyond a 300-tonne limit set in the 2015 nuclear deal. REUTERS