France, Russia Dismayed by US Decision on Fordow
EghtesadOnline: France and Russia on Tuesday voiced objection to the US decision to end the sanctions waiver related to Iran’s Fordow nuclear facility.
“We regret the decision of the United States, following Iran’s resumption of enrichment on the Fordow site, to terminate an exemption that would facilitate the conduct of civilian projects on this site,” French Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said in an online press briefing, Reuters reported.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry also said in a statement that Moscow strongly condemns the US move on the Fordow facility and believes the decision violates US international commitments, Financial Tribune reported.
Russia is continuing its close cooperation with Iran on the Fordow reconfiguration, it stressed.
The United States said on Monday it will no longer waive sanctions related to the Fordow site after Tehran resumed uranium enrichment at the underground site.
The Trump administration, which last year pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on Tehran, had until Monday let the work go forward at the Fordow plant by issuing waivers to sanctions that bar non-US firms from dealing with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.
The UN atomic watchdog and Iran itself said this month Tehran is again enriching uranium at the sensitive site.
Von der Muhll also contended that France is extremely concerned by Iran’s non-compliance with its nuclear obligations, which may have serious consequences for proliferation.
“Iran’s resumption of enrichment activities at the Fordow site, with potentially serious proliferation consequences, is a new step that marks a regrettable acceleration of Iran’s withdrawal from the Vienna agreement,” she said.
Tehran stresses that its nuclear program is only for civilian purposes and has no military dimensions.
As the nuclear deal has slowly eroded, France, Britain and Germany have been torn between trying to save it and responding to Iran’s decision to reduce its compliance with the accord following Europe’s failure to compensate for the damage done by US sanctions to the Iranian economy.
French officials have in recent weeks stepped up efforts to try to bring Tehran and Washington back to the negotiating table, but with little sign of success.
They are trying to convince Iran to reverse its nuclear steps and the US to begin lifting some sanctions that have strangled Iran’s economy.
“France calls on Iran to comply fully with the agreement without delay,” von der Muhll said, adding that Paris was continuing its efforts to defuse tensions.