United Kingdom, France and Germany delivered a statement at a meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog, IAEA, expressing deep concern over Iran’s nuclear activities.
The E3, as the three counties are known within the framework of the Iran nuclear talks, said that Iran has been escalating its nuclear program “systematically” for two years, “permanently and irreversibly upgrading its nuclear capabilities”.
The United States also issued a statement in Vienna, voicing strong support for the efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency monitoring efforts. US officials also reiterated that they are ready to reach an agreement with Iran to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of action, or JCPOA.
The E3 were mainly referring to Iran’s uranium enrichment which has increased both in quantity and quality since 2019 as a reaction to the US withdrawal from JCPOA. But the enrichment took another leap this year when Tehran said it is enriching to 60 percent, getting close to the 90-percent uranium purity needed for a nuclear bomb.
Warning of the inherent risk to the international community, the E3 declared, “Iran has no plausible civilian justification for both 20% and 60% enrichment and the production of High Enriched Uranium (HEU) is unprecedented for a State without a weapons program.”
They went on to say that Iran has already stockpiled enough fissile material to produce more than one nuclear bomb and continues to make advances that reduce its breakout time. Significantly, the E3 warned that these escalations and advances “are irreversibly reducing the counter-proliferation value of the JCPOA.”
The E3 also expressed deep concern over Iran’s decision to reduce cooperation with the IAEA since early this year, curtailing its monitoring activities and stonewalling on providing answers to the nuclear watchdog’s questions about its past activities.
The European powers pointed out that IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi visited Tehran twice since September, but Iran failed to resolve these issues. “It is essential that Iran returns to full implementation of JCPOA-related IAEA monitoring arrangements,” the statement said.
While the statement is a stern warning to Iran, it is not clear if the E3 and the United States would table a proposal at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting to censure Iran.