Wed, Jul 10, 2019 - Page 6 News List

EU urges Iran to reverse its uranium enrichment

Reuters and AFP, BRUSSELS and TEHRAN

The EU yesterday urged Iran to reverse its scaled up uranium enrichment that breaches a nuclear arms control deal it agreed in 2015.

“We continue to urge Iran not [to] take further measures that undermine the nuclear deal to stop and to reverse all activities that are inconsistent with the JCPOA, including the production of low-enriched uranium,” an EU spokeswoman told reporters, referring to the deal’s formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Iran on Monday said it will boost its uranium enrichment in a few hours above a cap set by the nuclear deal, a move that could mean the return of all economic sanctions on Tehran.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s top diplomatic adviser is spending two days in Tehran as part of an urgent bid to deescalate rising tensions over the unraveling nuclear deal.

An Elysee Palace official said that adviser Emmanuel Bonne left yesterday for Tehran, seeking ways to restart dialogue.

Macron and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani agreed in a telephone conversation on Saturday to set a deadline of Monday next week to solve the current impasse.

Macron spoke with US President Donald Trump on Monday — the day Iran began enriching uranium beyond the accord’s 3.67 percent limit.

The move came more than a year after Washington pulled out of the landmark accord.

Iran surpassing the cap and reaching 4.5 percent enrichment was announced by Atomic Energy Organization of Iran spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi.

“This level of purity completely satisfies the power plant fuel requirements of the country,” he said, quoted by the semi-official Islamic State News Agency.

Kamalvandi hinted that Iran might stick to this level of enrichment for the time being, which is well below the more than 90 percent level required for a nuclear warhead.

The the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), confirmed that Iran had enriched uranium to a level above the deal’s cap.

The IAEA said its inspectors “on 8 July verified that Iran is enriching uranium above 3.67 percent U-235.”

According to Middle East analyst Sanam Vakil, Europe would need to engage Iran and the US simultaneously to prevent the situation escalating even further.

“A ‘freeze for freeze’ is the most immediate goal; keeping Iran within the JCPOA and then sanctions relief from the Trump administration,” said Vakil, a senior research fellow at the Chatham House think tank in London.

Additional reporting by AP

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