EU, E3 Issue Joint Statement on Iran’s 4th Nuclear Step

EU, E3 Issue Joint Statement on Iran’s 4th Nuclear Step

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – France, Germany, Britain and the European Union said they are "extremely concerned" by Iran's decision to restart nuclear activities at one of its key sites.

"The Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom and the High Representative of the European Union are extremely concerned by the latest announcements that Iran is restarting uranium enrichment activities at the Fordow facility, as confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its November 11 report," they said in a joint statement, AFP reported.

"We urge Iran to reverse all measures inconsistent with the JCPOA,” it added.

The three countries warned Tehran they might trigger a dispute settlement mechanism prescribed by the deal. Under the terms agreed in 2015, the move would start a 30-day deadline for the signatories to resolve the problem. If the issue remains unsolved, it could be directed to the UN Security Council and eventually trigger the "snapback" of sanctions lifted under the deal.

"We affirm our readiness to consider all mechanisms in the (nuclear deal) including the dispute resolution mechanism, to resolve the issues," the European states said.

Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Fordow nuclear site was supposed to exclude nuclear materials for 15 years, but Iran resumed enrichment activities in the fourth step of reduced commitments to the nuclear deal and transferred a cylinder to the Fordow site containing around 2,000 kilograms of UF6.

On Monday, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said despite all difficulties, the bloc's foreign ministers support the full implementation of the deal.

"Let me stress that there was again today, around our table, full commitment to the (nuclear) agreement that remains crucial for our security even if it is increasingly difficult to preserve it," Mogherini told reporters after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

"We will continue efforts to have a full implementation of the agreement," she added.

Iran had earlier reduced its commitments in three other phases, but the latest one, the injection of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas into centrifuges at Fordow, is believed to be the most important step so far, and a serious warning to the other parties.

In May 2018, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the JCPOA.

Iran and the remaining parties launched talks to save the JCPOA after the US withdrawal, but the three EU parties to the deal (France, Britain, and Germany) have failed to ensure Iran’s economic interests.

The EU’s inaction forced Tehran to stop honoring certain commitments to the nuclear deal, including a rise in the stockpile of enriched uranium.

Iran maintains that the new measures are not designed to harm the JCPOA but to save the accord by creating a balance in the commitments.

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