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14 Apr, 2021 13:40

‘No credible civilian need for enrichment at this level’: European states warn Iran over plan to enrich uranium up to 60%

‘No credible civilian need for enrichment at this level’: European states warn Iran over plan to enrich uranium up to 60%

The governments of the UK, Germany, and France have spoken of their “grave concern” after Tehran announced it would increase uranium enrichment up to 60% following Israel’s alleged attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility.

In a joint statement issued on Wednesday, the three countries – collectively termed the E3 – urged Iran not to continue with its plan to enrich uranium up to 60%.

The statement claimed Iran’s new move was “particularly regrettable,” as it comes at a time when all parties are engaged in discussions to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The trio, who were signatories to the JCPOA, called on Tehran “not to further complicate the diplomatic process.” 

The three states also noted their concern that the 60% enrichment plans could bring Iran closer to the production of nuclear weapons.

This is a serious development, since the production of highly enriched uranium constitutes an important step in the production of a nuclear weapon. Iran has no credible civilian need for enrichment at this level.

The statement also registered the E3’s opposition to Iran’s plan to install 1,000 additional centrifuges at Natanz, significantly increasing its enrichment capacity.

On Tuesday, Tehran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of its intention to increase enrichment of uranium to 60%.Iranian President Hassan Rouhani cited the Israeli attack on the Natanz nuclear site as the reason for the decision to enhance the country’s enrichment program.“60% enrichment is an answer to your evilness,” he said on Wednesday. “We cut off both of your hands, one with IR-6 centrifuges and another one with 60%.” 

Also on rt.com ‘Answer to your evilness’: President promises to ‘cut both hands’ of Iran’s enemies with 60% uranium enrichment plan

In a tweet on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said the current situation could only be resolved by the US ending its economic terrorism.“Biden/Harris have a clear choice to make: Either the Obama/Biden deal OR Trump's 'maximum failure' campaign. No alternative. Not much time,” he wrote. 

The JCPOA, which was signed in 2015, hit a major stumbling block in 2018 when President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of the pact and imposed sanctions on Tehran. Iran subsequently began increasingly reneging on its commitments under the deal, including boosting its nuclear enrichment levels. Talks are ongoing in Vienna to bring the US and Iran back in line with the agreement.

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