European powers denounced Iran’s latest nuclear move


BERLIN (Associated Press) – Germany, France and Britain have expressed “grave concern” about additional action by Iran they say is a serious breach of its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, warning that it threatens the outcome of talks aimed at bringing the United States back into the pact.

The foreign ministers of the three European powers issued a joint statement on Tuesday regarding a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency, that Iran intends to produce enriched uranium metal.

Since President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement in 2018, Iran has been gradually violating its restrictions to pressure the remaining parties – the European Three, Russia and China – to come up with economic incentives to compensate crippled Americans. Penalties.

Among other things, Tehran began enriching uranium to a level well above the purity allowed under the agreement. It also spins advanced centrifuges, produces uranium metal and stores more uranium than is permitted.

Uranium metal can also be used to make a nuclear bomb, and the nuclear deal specifically prohibits research into its production. The International Atomic Energy Agency already said in February that its inspectors had confirmed that Iran had started producing uranium metal.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said that Director General Rafael Grossi told the agency’s board of governors that Iran now intends to use up to 20% enriched uranium to make fuel for the Tehran research reactor, and that “with this, as part of a multi-stage process, it will also produce up to 20% enriched uranium.” to 20%.

Today, Tuesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency said that Iran has informed the agency that enriched uranium will be shipped to the research and development laboratory at its fuel manufacturing plant in Isfahan, where it will be converted into uranium tetrafluoride and then into enriched uranium metal before being used in fuel manufacturing. .

European foreign ministers said of Tehran’s recent move that “Iran does not have a credible civilian need for uranium metal (research and development) and production, which are an essential step in developing a nuclear weapon.”

They said it was “extremely concerning” given that no date had been set for the resumption of negotiations in Vienna aimed at bringing the United States back into the nuclear deal and Iran in full compliance, and that Iran had “significantly curtailed” the IAEA. being able to.

“We have repeatedly emphasized that time is not on anyone’s side,” the statement said. “Iran’s latest steps threaten a successful outcome of the Vienna talks despite the progress made in six rounds of negotiations so far.”

The 2015 agreement aims to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Tehran denies it is seeking such an arsenal.

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