European powers condemn Iran's latest breaches of nuclear deal

E3 nations tracking Tehran's uranium enrichment with 'grave concern'

A handout picture released by Iran's Atomic Energy Organization on November 6, 2019, shows the interior of the Fordo (Fordow) Uranium Conversion Facility in Qom, in the north of the country. - An Iranian official announced that the plant will start enriching uranium at midnight. (Photo by HO / Atomic Energy Organization of Iran / AFP) / === RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / HO / ATOMIC ENERGY ORGANIZATION OF IRAN" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS ===

France, Germany and Britain have condemned Iran's acceleration of its uranium enrichment, which the three European powers noted “with grave concern”.

The UN’s nuclear watchdog confirmed this week that Tehran has produced uranium metal enriched by up to 20 per cent for the first time, and has significantly increased its production capacity of uranium by up to 60 per cent.

The production of uranium is prohibited under the 2015 deal that Iran signed with world powers, where Tehran agreed to limit to its nuclear programme in exchange for economic incentives.

Uranium can be used in the production of a nuclear bomb.

“We reiterate that these are serious violations of Iran’s commitments" under the 2015 nuclear deal, the three European powers also known as 'the E3' said.

“Both are key steps in the development of a nuclear weapon and Iran has no credible civilian need for either measure.”

Former US president Donald Trump withdrew his country unilaterally from the 2015 accord in 2018 and imposed heavy sanctions on Iran.

Tehran has responded by consistently breaching the terms of the deal.

Mr Trump’s successor Joe Biden has said he is open to rejoining the pact, but insists that Iran must return to compliance with the nuclear restrictions. Tehran says the US must drop all sanctions.

Talks in Vienna between the remaining signatories of the deal – the E3, Russia and China – began in April in an effort to revive the accord, but the last round of talks ended in June with no date set for their resumption. Officials from Iran and the US were present but have not met face to face.

“Iran‘s activities are all the more troubling given the fact that talks in Vienna have been interrupted upon Tehran’s request for two months now and that Iran has not yet committed to a date for their resumption," the E3 said.

“While refusing to negotiate, Iran is instead establishing facts on the ground which make a return to the nuclear deal more complicated.

“Iran must halt all activities in violation of the nuclear deal without delay. We urge Iran 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."

Updated: August 19th 2021, 3:53 PM