Iran begins to enrich 20% uranium; The United States and Europe condemn this decision
Iran has started the uranium enrichment process, an act that could hamper the resumption of talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the Iran intended to enrich 20% uranium, which could allow it to develop a nuclear weapon.
Tehran said the steps were aimed at developing fuel for a research reactor. This drew criticism from American and European leaders. The United States has called this an “unfortunate step backwards”.
Tensions between the United States and Iran have escalated since then-US President Donald Trump left the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018. The current US President, Joe Biden, however, said he was open to reviving the nuclear deal. . Tehran has negotiated with the European signatories of the nuclear agreement concerning the relaunch of the JCPOA. The talks, which were held in Vienna, began in April and were adjourned on June 20. But no date has been set for future talks.
“Today Iran informed the Agency that UO2 enriched up to 20% U-235 will be shipped to the R&D laboratory at the fuel fabrication plant in Isfahan, where it will be converted to UF4 then in uranium metal enriched to 20% one hundred U-235, before using it to manufacture the fuel, “said an IAEA press release.
Britain, France and Germany said on Tuesday they expressed “grave concern” over Iran’s move, which violates JCPOA stipulations. If the JCPOA were to be revived, it would force Iran to refrain from enriching uranium to nuclear weapon level and, in return, the United States would lift the trade sanctions it had imposed on Iran. after Trump’s exit from the deal. European signatories are also expected to lift the sanctions it has imposed on Iran.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price told Reuters that Washington is not setting a deadline for the talks, but noted: “Over time, Iran’s nuclear advances will have an impact. impact on our vision of returning to the JCPOA ”.
“Iran has no credible civilian need for R&D and production of uranium metal, which is a key step in the development of a nuclear weapon,” the three countries said in a joint statement issued by the British ministry. of Foreign Affairs, the BBC reported.