“An important step in the development of a nuclear weapon”
According to the findings of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran is aiming for a uranium enrichment of 20 percent – significantly higher than necessary for civilian use. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas speaks of an “important step in the development of a nuclear weapon”.
Dhe International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has accused Iran of moving further and further away from the agreements of the 2015 nuclear agreement. Tehran intends to produce uranium metal with an enrichment of 20 percent, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi informed the IAEA member states on Tuesday.
Germany, France and Great Britain reacted with sharp criticism of Tehran. Iran has “no credible civilian need” for this type of uranium metal, declared the foreign ministers of the countries. With his behavior, Tehran is endangering the success of the current nuclear negotiations in Vienna.
Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) and his colleagues from France and Great Britain expressed “serious concerns” in view of Grossi’s report. The fact that Tehran has taken steps towards the production of enriched uranium metal is a “serious violation of Iranian obligations” under the international nuclear agreement. The production of uranium metal is an “important step in the development of a nuclear weapon”. Tehran itself announced an enrichment to 60 percent in April.
The ministers added that Iran’s recent breach of the nuclear deal is even more worrying given the fact that there has not yet been a date for the continuation of negotiations on a revival of the nuclear deal.
USA warn against “playing with fire”
Sharp criticism also came from the USA. It is “worrying” that Iran continues to “escalate” non-compliance with the nuclear deal, said State Department spokesman Ned Price in Washington. Tehran must end “this game with fire”. “We have made it clear that such provocative steps will not give Iran leverage in the negotiations,” added Price. Tehran must return to Vienna for “real talks” to complete the work that began in April.
Negotiations about a restart of the nuclear agreement in Vienna, which began in April, had stalled in the past few weeks. It is unclear how the election of hardliner Ebrahim Raisi as Iranian president will play out. Raisi will take over the presidency on August 3rd from his more moderate predecessor Hassan Ruhani.
The foreign ministers of Germany, Great Britain and France called on Iran “to cease all activities that violate the JCPoA without delay and to return to the negotiations in Vienna”. JCPoA – Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – is the official name for the Vienna Nuclear Agreement. “We have emphasized several times that time is on nobody’s side,” emphasized the ministers with a view to the Vienna talks. “With its latest steps, Iran is endangering a successful end to the Vienna talks despite the progress that has been made in six rounds of negotiations.”
The 2015 international nuclear deal is designed to prevent Iran from gaining the ability to build an atomic bomb. As part of the deal, the West had relaxed sanctions against Tehran. The United States withdrew from the agreement in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump and had implemented massive new punitive measures against Iran. In response, Tehran gradually withdrew from its obligations under the agreement.