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Iran scales back nuclear deal commitments as US imposes sanctions

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Iran scales back nuclear deal commitments as US imposes sanctions
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Iran launched a new array of 30 advanced centrifuges on Monday, the country's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi told state television in a move that further scaled back Tehran's commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal.

Salehi, the head of Iran's nuclear energy organisation, said the move showed Iran's "capacity and determination".

Salehi appeared to call out the United States while announcing the centrifuges:

"We have to thank our enemies for creating an opportunity for the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially in the nuclear technology industry, to show how we could obtain such an achievement...in such a short time," he said.

Meanwhile, the US Treasury Department announced that they would impose sanctions on nine people connected to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

"This action seeks to block funds from flowing to a shadow network of Ali Khamenei’s military and foreign affairs advisors who have for decades oppressed the Iranian people, exported terrorism, and advanced destabilizing policies around the world," the US treasury department said in a statement.

The actions came on the 40th anniversary of Iranian students' takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran when over 50 US diplomats were held hostage for 444 days.

The United States withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Deal last year whereas the European Union has been trying to salvage the deal, maintaining that it is important for security in the region and abroad.

Iran has responded by gradually scaling back its commitments under the agreement.

"Every time Iran makes one of these announcements, it’s nibbling away at that deal and getting closer and closer to having enough material for a nuclear bomb," Richard Johnson from the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) in Washington DC told Euronews.

But Johnson said, the Iranians are still allowing the International Atomic Energy Agency to continue their inspection work, and the steps they are taking in nuclear research are "calibrated and deliberate" meaning they could be reversed in the future.

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