EghtesadOnline: World powers expressed concerns about Tehran’s move on Sunday to start scaling up the level of uranium enrichment in response to the failure of the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal to ensure its economic interests after the US pullout, urging Iran to reverse its decision.
Japan voiced “serious” concerns over Iran’s decision to increase uranium enrichment above the limit set by the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, appealing to Tehran to return to its earlier commitment.
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura said on Monday that Japan is “seriously concerned and closely watching” the development on the nuclear deal and increased tension in the Middle East.
Nishimura urged Iran to “immediately return to its commitment under the agreement and avoid any further steps that would undermine the nuclear agreement,” according to Financial Tribune.
Iran’s decision on Sunday came over a year after the US unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal and reimposed stiff sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, escalating the tension.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Tehran last month for talks with Iranian leaders, but failed to help de-escalate the tension.
China also on Monday expressed regret about Iran’s decision to raise the level of uranium enrichment above 3.67% fissile purity set in the JCPOA, reiterating that the standoff should be resolved diplomatically.
At a daily briefing, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China calls on all sides involved to “exercise restraint”, Reuters reported.
Russian presidential press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said on the same day that the Kremlin was worried about the consequences arising from Iran’s move.
"Regretfully, we are now registering these consequences. The Russian diplomacy will continue working," he said, TASS reported.
"We will also be expecting the results of the work of an IAEA commission, which will be convened in the coming days," he said.
"Russia is primarily intending to continue dialogue and efforts on the diplomatic front," he added.
France on Sunday said it took note "with great concern" of Iran's announcement that it would boost nuclear enrichment above agreed parameters, urging further diplomatic moves to ease tension.
"We strongly urge Iran to stop all activities that are not consistent with its JCPOA commitments," Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Agnes von der Muhll, said, Xinhua reported.
"France is in close contact with the concerned partners to initiate the necessary de-escalation of tensions," she added in a press release.
Von der Muhll noted that France was waiting for the International Atomic Energy Agency to confirm Tehran’s plan to enrich uranium above the agreed limit.
French President Emmanuel Macron claimed the Iranian decision was a “violation” of the agreement reached between Iran and world powers to curb uranium enrichment in return for sanctions relief, Reuters reported.
The French government said it will not trigger the deal’s dispute resolution mechanism for now, instead giving itself one week to try to get all parties talking again.
Britain said on the same day that Iran needs to “immediately stop and reverse all activities”, which London contends are in violation of the nuclear deal.
Tehran maintains that its recent nuclear measures, including the decision not to comply with the caps on its stocks of enriched uranium and heavy water, are in line with the provisions of a dispute resolution mechanism set out in the JCPOA.
Britain’s Press Association quoted a Foreign Office spokesman saying, “While the UK remains fully committed to the deal, Iran must immediately stop and reverse all activities inconsistent with its obligations.”
The spokesman said Britain is coordinating with other countries that are part of the accord “regarding the next steps under the terms of the deal, including a Joint Commission”.
The JCPOA Joint Commission monitors the deal’s implementation and addresses related disputes. It brings together officials from the participants, namely Iran, France, Germany, Britain, Russia, China and the European Union.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said later in the day that he still wanted to find a way to make the deal work.
“We would still like to find a way to make this deal work, we are very concerned about the news that has come out today and we will wait for independent verification by the relevant international body before deciding what next steps [to take],” Hunt said.
“But obviously if Iran is breaching this deal, there will be very serious consequences,” he added.
The EU also said signatories to the nuclear pact are discussing a possible emergency meeting after Iran’s announcement that it will overstep the accord’s limit on uranium enrichment.
EU Spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said on Sunday that the bloc is “extremely concerned” about Iran’s decision to ramp up enrichment beyond the 3.67% limit. She said the EU had cautioned Iran against such moves.
She told AP that the EU is in contact with other parties to the accord to discuss next steps, “including a Joint Commission”.
Germany said it is “extremely concerned” about Iran’s announcement that it will break the limit on uranium enrichment.
The foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday that it is awaiting further information from the UN atomic watchdog.
It called for Iran “to stop and reverse all activities inconsistent with its commitments” and said it is in contact with remaining parties to the deal regarding the next steps to try to keep Iran within its terms.