Europeans warn: Iran’s nuclear non-compliance risks deal

iran nuclear
File photo : A report in late November 2020 from the International Atomic Energy Agency concluded that Iran now has more than 12 times the amount of enriched uranium permitted under a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. It now has a stockpile of more than 2,442 kilograms, or over 5,385 pounds, of low-enriched uranium. That is enough to produce about two nuclear weapons, according to an analysis of the report by the Institute for Science and International Security. But it would require several months of additional processing to enrich the uranium to bomb-grade material, meaning that Iran would not be close to a bomb until late spring at the earliest . Iran has been trying to pressure Biden into rejoining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) without pre-condition but top administration officials are in no hurry and consider Iran’s pressure sort of a blackmail

Germany, France and the UK condemned Iran’s uranium production, hoping that Tehran and Washington could return to the nuclear deal negotiations.

Amid hopes to revitalize the nuclear accord with Iran, Germany, France and the United Kingdom said Iran was risking it by breaching the commitments it accepted in 2015.

Previously, a UN agency confirmed that Iran was violating the deal by producing uranium metal. The three European powers want to see Iran and the United States take part in new talks over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“In escalating its non-compliance, Iran is undermining the opportunity for renewed diplomacy to fully realize the objectives of the JCPOA,” they said in a joint letter.

The German Foreign Ministry said on Twitter that the three countries believed that Iran had “no credible civilian justification” to produce uranium metal. 

Iran recently said that the European Union could mediate
 in its the conflict with the US over the deal.

Lifting sanctions or compliance: Which comes first? 

The United States and Iran had signaled their interest in reviving the JCPOA after Joe Biden took office in the White House in January. However, the two countries clash on preconditions that would allow them to go back to the negotiations table. 

Iran demands that the US lift the sanctions it imposed on Tehran. However, Washington wants Iran to first comply with the deal, which means reducing its uranium production to the agreed cap of 3.67%. 

On Thursday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Twitter that the US was the one to withdraw from the deal, and therefore it must first return. 

Tehran stopped complying with its commitments in the deal after former US President Donald Trump pulled out from the JCPOA in 2018. 

fb/dj (AFP, dpa, Reuters)