Written by Amir Taghati
World powers have condemned the Iranian regime’s violation of the 2015 international nuclear deal, after the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog confirmed this week that the regime had exceeded the threshold for its low-enriched uranium stockpile.
On Monday, the regime’s state-run Fars News Agency announced that Tehran’s stockpile of uranium had gone over 300 kg of enriched uranium; a substance used to make nuclear weapons.
The White House said on Monday that it would continue its policy of maximum pressure on the Iranian regime until it changes course and emphasised that Tehran should not be allowed to enrich uranium under any circumstances.
The statement read: “Maximum pressure on the Iranian regime will continue until its leaders alter their course of action… We must restore the longstanding non-proliferation standard of no enrichment for Iran.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “Iran’s regime has taken new steps to advance its nuclear ambitions. Once again, the regime uses its nuclear program to extort the international community and threaten regional security. The world’s top sponsor of terrorism can never be allowed to enrich uranium at any level.”
Meanwhile, Donald Trump said the Iranian regime was “playing with fire”.
This came just hours after the regime’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif confirmed that Tehran had violated the 2015 nuclear deal with major powers by stockpiling over 300 kg of enriched uranium.
Iran’s move was also confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is responsible for monitoring Iran’s compliance with the deal. IAEA head Yukiya Amano informed the board of governors on July 1 about the breach.
This is part of the regime’s attempts to force Europe to help the mullahs evade US sanctions, with foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi saying that all of the steps that Tehran is taking to decrease its commitments to the nuclear deal are “reversible”.
Europe is naturally very concerned by Iran’s breach.
A German foreign ministry source, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “We call on Iran to reverse this step and not to further undermine the nuclear agreement.”
While British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted: “Deeply worried by Iran’s announcement that it has broken existing nuclear deal obligations. UK remains committed to making deal work and using all diplomatic tools to de-escalate regional tensions. I urge Iran to avoid any further steps away from JCPoA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and come back into compliance.”
The UN, which created a resolution surrounding the deal, has called on Iran to continue with the deal with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres being very concerned about the implications.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said: “Such action by the Islamic Republic of Iran would not help preserve the plan, nor secure the tangible economic benefits for the Iranian people. It is essential that this issue … be addressed through the mechanism established by the [nuclear deal].”
If the regime fails to stick with the plan, the UN can reimpose sanctions in just 65 days.
European signatories to a nuclear pact with the Iranian regime said on Tuesday they were “extremely concerned” by Tehran’s breach of the 2015 deal.
“We regret this decision by Iran, which calls into question an essential instrument of nuclear non-proliferation,” the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Britain said in a joint statement with the EU’s High Representative. “We urge Iran to reverse this step and to refrain from further measures that undermine the nuclear deal,” they said.
The US imposed these sanctions after pulling out of the nuclear deal in 2018, citing Iranian noncompliance. The other countries – Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia – remained in the deal.