European states express concern regarding Iran’s nuclear enrichment

In a joint statement, France, Germany, and the UK raised their concerns over the latest report indicating Tehran’s uranium enrichment is close to reach weapons-grade.

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On Thursday, France, Germany, and the UK issued a joint statement about Iran’s nuclear enrichment activities. The statement came following a report recently published by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The UN’s nuclear watchdog body confirmed in its report that Iran has sped up its uranium enrichment activities, and that it almost reached weapons-grade.

Following the IAEA’s report published on Tuesday, the three European countries expressed their concern in the joint statement over the UN’s nuclear body’s findings showing that Iran has produced uranium metal enriched up to 20 percent fissile purity for the first time and increased its uranium enrichment capacity to 60 percent.

Issued by the three countries’ foreign ministries, the joint statement noted, “Iran must halt activities in violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) without delay.” It also added, “We urge to return to the negotiations in Vienna as soon as possible with a view to bringing them to a swift, successful conclusion. We have repeatedly stressed that time is on no one’s side.”

The Iranian move came as the Vienna talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and the Western countries have stalled. While Iran’s new president Ebrahim Raisi supported the Vienna negotiations, he is expected to assume a tougher attitude during his tenure. The last round of talks was completed following Iran’s June 18 presidential election. The next meeting has not been scheduled yet.

On the other hand, Iran issued a statement re-articulating that its nuclear program is peaceful, and the IAEA has constantly been kept updated regarding its activities. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said,” If the other parties return to their obligations under the nuclear accord and Washington fully and verifiably lifts its unilateral and illegal sanctions… all of Iran’s mitigation and countermeasures will be reversible.”

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