Iran should reverse its decision to raise the level at which it enriches uranium beyond that allowed by a 2015 nuclear deal, the EU has said, with the spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini stressing that the bloc is “extremely concerned at Iran’s announcement that it has started uranium enrichment above the limit of 3.67%”. Teheran has said it is merely responding to sanctions the US reinstated in 2018.
Iranian leaders have also accused European powers of failing to protect its economy from the sanctions’ effects and insisted that Iran’s actions are in line with the deal – known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). European leaders fear Teheran aims to accelerate the potential development of a nuclear weapon, which is something Iran denies. Iran has warned that if it does not begin to see the promised benefits stemming from the deal, it would keep reducing its commitments every 60 days.
“We strongly urge Iran to stop and reverse all activities inconsistent with its commitments… We are in contact with the other JCPOA participants regarding the next steps under the terms of the JCPOA, including a joint commission,” the EU spokesperson said. The other five JCPOA participants – namely the UK, France, Germany, China and Russia – could refer the issue to a “joint commission”, a process that could ultimately lead to the reinstatement of the UN and multilateral sanctions lifted three years ago. Meanwhile, US Vice-President Mike Pence expressed the hope that the US pressure would “change Iran’s malign behaviour and hold the regime accountable for its destructive actions”, vowing that the US would “never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon”.