Uranium enrichment machines in an underground Iranian facility

France, Germany, Britain Condemn Iran for Expanding Nuclear Program

Saturday, 06/15/2024

On Saturday, France, Germany, and Britain, original signatories of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, condemned Tehran’s latest actions to further expand its uranium enrichment.

"Iran has taken further steps in hollowing out the JCPoA, by operating dozens of additional advanced centrifuges at the Natanz enrichment site as well as announcing it will install thousands more centrifuges at both its Fordow and Natanz sites." the joint statement said, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed with Iran in 2015.

Centrifuges are machines that enrich or purify uranium to up to 90%, which can be used to produce nuclear weapons. Iran has been enriched to 60% purity since 2022 in retaliation for the US withdrawal from the JCPOA in 2018.

Iran has also substantially reduced the ability of the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to monitor its nuclear facilities. IAEA’s Board of Governors passed a resolution on June 4 censuring Iran and demanding from Tehran to cooperate with the agency. Iran vowed to retaliate and days later informed the watchdog about the expansion of its enrichment.

"This decision is a further escalation of Iran’s nuclear program, which carries significant proliferation risks," it added.

The joint statement stressed that "Iran’s decision to substantially increase its production capacity at the underground Fordow facility is especially concerning".

"Iran is legally obliged under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to fully implement its safeguards agreement, which is separate to the JCPoA."

The United States on Thursday had also threatened to respond to Iran if it further accelerates its uranium enrichment, hours after the UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA warned that Tehran has increased its capacity.

The US State Department issued a statement warning Iran of its response. “The report issued today by the IAEA makes clear that Iran aims to continue expanding its nuclear program in ways that have no credible peaceful purpose. These planned actions further undermine Iran’s claims to the contrary. If Iran implements these plans, we will respond accordingly.”

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