French, German and British Foreign Ministers are holding talks with their American counterpart Antony Blinken on how to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as Tehran plans to restrict UN inspections of its nuclear facilities if Washington does not lift sanctions against Iran by February 21.
The Biden administration has said it is prepared to rejoin the nuclear deal and start lifting sanctions if Tehran returns to full compliance.
Asked in a radio interview if there was any move under way to resume direct diplomacy with Iran, Antony Blinken pointed to U.S. President Biden’s public stance that if Iran resumes compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal the United States would do so too.
“The president’s been very clear publicly, repeatedly, about where we stand. And we’ll see what, if any, reaction Iran has to that,” he said.
But Iran has stepped up its nuclear work in violation of the accord after U.S. sanctions were reimposed as part of Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy to weaken the Iranian regime.
A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) based in Vienna on Wednesday said Iran had informed the IAEA of plans to install more of its advanced IR-2m centrifuges at its main underground enrichment plant at Natanz.
The IAEA reported on February 1 that Iran had brought a second cascade, or cluster, of IR-2m machines online at Natanz, and was installing two more. The 2015 deal says Iran can only enrich with far less efficient, first-generation IR-1 centrifuges.
Iran recently began enriching uranium to 20% fissile purity at another site, Fordow, well above its previous level of 4.5% and the deal’s 3.67% limit..
Refining uranium to high levels of fissile purity is a potential pathway to nuclear bombs.
In a letter to EU’s foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell, the European Leadership Network (ELNET), a group dedicated to Europe-Israel cooperation, ‘’expressed deep concern over the recent reports on severe Iranian breaches of the JCPOA, which bring Iran’s nuclear capacity to dangerous levels.’’
‘’We call on the European Union to take firm action against this highly dangerous Iranian brinkmanship. We urge the EU, as well as the governments of the E3, the UK, France and Germany, to firmly respond to the imminent threat that the Iranian nuclear activity poses to Europe and its allies in the Middle East.’’
‘’The time has come for urgent dialogue and close consultation with regional allies, including Israel, to be followed by decisive action to block Iran from acquiring the breakout capacity to a nuclear weapon,’’ ELNET said.