Western European Powers Express 'Grave Concern' over Iran's Uranium Enrichment
British, German, and French foreign ministers on Thursday, August 19, issued a joint declaration expressing “grave concern” over a report this week by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that found Iran has significantly accelerated its production of highly enriched uranium.
The IAEA report confirmed that, in direct contravention of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA) nuclear deal Iran signed with world powers, the Islamic Republic has produced uranium enriched up to 20 percent for the first time, and has drastically upped its production capacity for enrichment by up to 60 percent.
The joint statement by the UK, Germany, and France – the Western Europeans signatories to the deal – described Iran’s actions as “serious violations” of its responsibilities under the accord.
Both are key steps in the development of a nuclear weapon and Iran has no credible civilian need for either measure,” they stated.
“Our concerns are deepened by the fact that Iran has significantly limited IAEA access through withdrawing from JCPOA-agreed monitoring arrangements.”
They called Iran’s move “troubling” given that talks by the administration of US President Joe Biden to re-enter the accord after the Trump White House pulled out of the deal in May 2018 were paused by Iran two months ago with no signal by Tehran about a restart date.
“While refusing to negotiate, Iran is instead establishing facts on the ground which make a return to the JCPOA more complicated,” they added.
In April, Iran announced it would begin enriching uranium to 60% purity, a move that would take the uranium much closer to the 90% suitable for a nuclear bomb.
In a report last month, the IAEA said Iran has begun the process of producing enriched uranium metal. On Monday, August 16, the US urged Iran to return to the negotiating table. (INN / VFI News)