Abbas Araghchi
Abbas Araghchi Reuters

Iran said on Friday that progress had been made at a Vienna meeting on its nuclear deal but that it was "still not enough", AFP reports.

Speaking after talks with European, Russian and Chinese officials in the Austrian capital, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said what had been agreed was "one step forward" but added, "It is still not meeting Iran's expectations."

Iran is on the verge of exceeding one of the limits on stockpiles of nuclear material foreseen under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Iran says it no longer feels bound by certain limits in the deal due to the crippling sanctions re-imposed by the United States after Washington pulled out of the accord in May 2018.

Under the landmark deal signed with world powers in 2015, Iran pledged to reduce its nuclear capacities for several years and to allow international inspectors into the country to monitor its activities in return for relief from international sanctions.

Iran had said it would exceed the agreed 300-kilogram (660-pound) reserve of enriched uranium on Thursday, but an Iranian official said the latest figures showed the stockpile was still 2.8kg under the ceiling.

Speaking after Friday's meeting, Araghchi said, "The decision to reduce our commitments has already been made in Iran and we continue on that process unless our expectations are met."

"I don't think that the progress we made today would be considered enough to stop our process but the decision is not mine," he added, saying it would be up to his superiors in Tehran to decide.

Araghchi said that another meeting of the parties to the JCPOA would be convened at ministerial level "very soon", possibly in the next few weeks.

As well as the stockpile limit, Iran has also said that as of July 7 it will start enriching uranium above the agreed purification level of 3.67 percent. Weapons-grade levels are about 90 percent.

The European signatories to the 2015 deal did not agree with Trump’s decision to leave the agreement and vowed to help Iran evade the economic sanctions imposed by the US, shielding companies doing business with the rogue state in an effort to preserve the Iran nuclear deal.

The EU earlier this year introduced a trade mechanism that would bypass US sanctions on Iran, in a bid to save the 2015 deal, but Iran has rejected that mechanism thus far.

In a statement after Friday’s meeting, the EU said Britain, France and Germany have a special trade channel up and running with Iran that aims to circumvent US economic sanctions.

“France, Germany and the United Kingdom informed participants that INSTEX had been made operational and available to all EU Member States and that the first transactions are being processed,” the EU said in a statement, referring to the channel’s formal name.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

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