Iran Lifts Research and Development Restrictions in Reduction of Nuclear Commitments

Under the nuclear deal, Tehran can conduct limited enrichment R&D, without accumulating enriched uranium, including work with certain types of advanced centrifuges

In a handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency, President Hassan Rohani gives a speech after meeting with the Iranian Judiciary chief and parliament speaker in Tehran, September 4, 2019.

Iran said on Friday it had taken a step to further scale back its commitments to a 2015 nuclear deal, Iran's semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

"Foreign Minister (Mohammad Javad) Zarif, in a letter to EU policy chief (Federica Mogherini) announced that Iran has lifted all limitations on its Research and Development (R&D) activities," ISNA quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi as saying.

Under the nuclear deal between Iran and major powers, Tehran can continue to conduct limited enrichment Research and Development without accumulating enriched uranium, including work with certain types of advanced centrifuges.

>> Read more: 'Bibi-sitting' and drones out of Azerbaijan: Report reveals how close Israel came to striking Iran ■ Report: Iran building new, classified military base in Syria ■ First drone war pulls Israel's conflict with Iran out of the shadows | Analysis

Iranian President Hassan Rohani said in a televised speech on Wednesday that Iran's next step in its nuclear program involves the development of centrifuges.

"We will take all necessary steps to protect the Iranian nation's rights and interests ... Our third step [to scale back Iran's commitment to a 2015 nuclear deal] involves the development of centrifuges. We will take this step on Friday," he said, without elaborating. 

Rohani also said the activities will be "peaceful" and under surveillance of the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

The 2015 deal between Iran and six other countries, reached under former U.S. President Barack Obama, curbed Iran's nuclear work in exchange for the lifting of most sanctions in 2016.

But the United States exited the pact last year and has reimposed sanctions on Iran.