On Wednesday, Germany, France, and Britain pushed Iran to back down from a decision to begin enriching uranium to levels that surpass the limits of a 2015 nuclear deal, which is a step that they said risks compromising chances of diplomacy with the incoming US administration.
The foreign ministers of the three European nations stated in a joint statement that the Iranian activity has no credible civil justification. They added that the enrichment was a clear violation of the 2015 deal between Iran and six world powers and further hollows out the agreement.
Indeed, the United States individually withdrew from the deal in 2018, and the remaining countries that signed this agreement with Iran, Germany, France, Britain, China, and Russia, have been seeking to avoid the accord from failure.
In a new move, Iran started, on Monday, enriching uranium to increased levels since the 2015 deal; this decision actually seemed aimed at increasing Tehran’s leverage during US President Donald Trump’s declining days in office.
During the last week, Iran told the International Atomic Energy Agency of its plans to raise enrichment to 20%. Increasing enrichment at its underground Fordow facility puts Tehran a technical step away from weapons-grade levels of 90%.
Furthermore, the agreement’s aim was to avoid Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, it’s something that Tehran claims that it doesn’t want to do. The three European powers showed hope that with the change of administrations in Washington, the US might rejoin the deal. While the President-elect Joe Biden stated that he wishes to return the US to the agreement, and what complicates that aim is that Iran that is looking for relief from crippling US sanctions, is currently in violation of most major restrictions set out in the agreement.
The European ministers reported in their statement on Wednesday that the uranium enrichment move undermines the joint commitment made on Dec. 21 by participants in the deal to keep the deal. The statement also said: It also risks compromising the important opportunity for a return to diplomacy with the incoming US administration.
The ministers added: We strongly urge Iran to stop enriching uranium to up to 20% without delay, reverse its enrichment program to the limits agreed in the (agreement), and to refrain from any further escalatory steps which would further reduce the space for effective diplomacy.
It should indicate that a decision to start enriching to 20% purity a decade ago nearly generated an Israeli attack targeting Iran’s nuclear facilities. The tensions just decreased with the 2015 agreement and Iran limit its enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.
German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, stated on the sidelines of a gathering on nuclear disarmament in Jordan that the accord still has a chance. He also said that the world would know soon after Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration what demands Washington has. He added: That’s why one can only say once more to Iran that it would be extremely dangerous to gamble away this chance.