Germany, Britain denounce Iran's breach of nuclear deal

Germany and Britain urge Iran to stop taking measures that undermine 2015 nuclear agreement.

Elad Benari,

Arak Heavy Water Reactor
Arak Heavy Water Reactor

Germany on Sunday urged Iran to stop taking measures that undermine the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, after the Islamic Republic announced that it would expand its uranium enrichment beyond the limit permitted in the deal.

"We had called upon Iran not to take further measures that undermine the nuclear deal," said a German foreign ministry spokesman, according to Reuters.

"We strongly urge Iran to stop and reverse all activities inconsistent with its commitments under the JCPOA, including the production of low enriched uranium beyond the respective JCPOA stockpile limit,” added the spokesman, who used the official name for the deal – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Britain’s Foreign Office denounced Iran’s move as well, saying "Iran has broken the terms of the JCPOA.”

"While the UK remains fully committed to the deal, Iran must immediately stop and reverse all activities inconsistent with its obligations. We are coordinating with other JCPOA participants regarding the next steps under the terms of the deal, including a Joint Commission," it added.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, announced earlier on Sunday that Iran would start enriching uranium to a higher purity level than the 3.67% permitted in the 2015 deal.

While he did not specify the exact level, an Iranian official indicated to Reuters on Saturday that Iran would increase its uranium enrichment to 5%.

US President Donald Trump said in response to the move, “Iran better be careful, because you enrich for one reason, and I won’t tell you what that reason is, but it’s no good. They better be careful.”

Trump told reporters that "Iran's doing a lot of bad things" but also vowed they "will never have a nuclear weapon.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, meanwhile, warned Iran that it would be subject to new sanctions because of its breaching of the terms of the nuclear deal.

“Iran’s latest expansion of its nuclear program will lead to further isolation and sanctions. Nations should restore the longstanding standard of no enrichment for Iran’s nuclear program,” tweeted Pompeo.

“Iran’s regime, armed with nuclear weapons, would pose an even greater danger to the world,” he added.

Tensions have been on the rise between Iran and Western powers since Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal last year and then imposed a series of crippling sanctions on Iran’s economy.

Iran has threatened to abandon further nuclear commitments unless the deal's remaining partners -- Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia -- helped it circumvent US sanctions, especially to sell its oil.

Last Friday, Iran met in Vienna with European, Russian and Chinese officials to discuss ways to save the 2015 nuclear following the US withdrawal.

Iran’s envoy to the meeting in Vienna said that European countries had offered too little to persuade Tehran to back off from its plans to breach limits imposed by the deal.