The United States, Britain, France and Germany said in a joint statement that a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iranian nuclear activity showed Tehran’s inconsistency in fulfilling its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, stressing that Iran’s production of highly enriched uranium at the Fordow station entails great risks.
The International Atomic Energy Agency of the United Nations criticized Iran for making an unannounced change in the connection between two sets of advanced devices that enrich uranium to a purity of up to 60%, which is close to the ratio needed for weapons manufacture at the Fordow facility, and the IAEA found the change during a process An unannounced inspection on January 21 at the Fordow fuel enrichment plant, where inspectors ramp up inspections after Iran said it would significantly expand enrichment.
“As the IAEA stated, this unannounced change is inconsistent with Iran’s obligations under the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement required by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,” the four countries said in a joint statement.
The joint statement said Iran’s production of highly enriched uranium at Fordow carries a significant proliferation risk and there is no credible civilian justification.
The statement added that Iran has not yet provided a convincing answer to the IAEA’s outstanding questions as part of its safeguards investigation.
On the other hand, Iran criticized the behavior of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, in the wake of the agency’s report on the modifications of centrifuges, and confirmed that it was based on a mistake by an international inspector.
The new criticism comes about two weeks after Grossi announced his intention to go to Tehran this February to urge Iran to increase its cooperation on its nuclear activities, after it was reduced months ago in light of tensions between Tehran and both the IAEA and Western parties, and in light of the deadlock prevailing in the talks to revive the 2015 international agreement. regarding Iran’s nuclear programme.
The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami, said, “The IAEA inspector’s interpretation was incorrect, and we immediately provided the explanation to the agency on the same day, but again, the agency’s director general published this through the media.”
He added, “This behavior is unprofessional and unacceptable, and we hope that the Director-General of the agency will not continue this practice, because this is unacceptable regarding the agency’s reputation.”
The Fordo facility is so sensitive that the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers banned enrichment there. Iran has violated many of the restrictions on its nuclear activities under the deal since the United States withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran.
Talks between Tehran and world powers to revive the agreement, which had made it possible to restrict Tehran’s nuclear activities in return for lifting sanctions imposed on it, have stalled, and its effects have become null since Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from it.
As of April 2021, Tehran and the major powers, with the coordination of the European Union and indirect US participation, held talks to revive the agreement, but they are still stalled so far.
• The nuclear agreement between Iran and the major powers prohibits enrichment operations at the Fordow facility.