France, Germany & UK 'Concerned' Over Iran's Plan to Set Up New Centrifuges at Natanz Nuclear Site
Sofia Chegodaeva. Sputnik International
09:20 GMT 07.12.2020(updated 09:59 GMT 07.12.2020)
Iran stopped adhering to the requirements of the 2015 nuclear deal in May 2019 after the US withdrew from the accord and imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
France, Germany and the UK issued a joint statement on Monday voicing their concern about Iran's plans to set up new centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear facility.
"If Iran is serious about preserving a space for diplomacy, it must not implement these steps," the joint statement reads.
Last month, the parliament of Iran passed a bill envisaging the expansion of the country's nuclear programme and limiting the extent to which the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) could monitor it. The Tasnim news agency reported earlier that a new bill, dubbed "The strategic measure for the removal of sanctions", is aimed at revitalising Iran's nuclear activities in the wake of the murder of nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
The bill also envisages increasing the uranium enrichment level to 20 percent or more â€” making it weapon-grade. Currently, Iran is enriching uranium at more than 4 percent, whereas the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) capped the level at 3.67 percent purity.
Iranian lawmakers said that if the remaining signatories to the Iran nuclear deal do not help Tehran with the US economic sanctions, the country will no longer comply with the agreement and ban IAEA inspectors from visiting its nuclear sites.
Iranian lawmakers burn two pieces of papers representing the U.S. flag and the nuclear deal as they chant slogans against the U.S. at the parliament in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, May 9, 2018
The JCPOA was signed in Vienna in summer of 2015, between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council: China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States plus Germany together with the European Union.
On 8 May 2018, the US officially withdrew from the agreement after President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum ordering the reinstatement of harsher sanctions. A year later, Iran came up with countermeasures: it halted sales of excess enriched uranium and heavy water to other countries. Also, President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran would resume enrichment of uranium beyond 3.67 percent if other signatories do not fulfil their duties to let Iran receive economic benefits from the JCPOA.
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