Moscow called Iran’s decision to enrich Uranium to 20 percent a step away from nuclear deal, reported Russian state-owned Sputnik news agency on Tuesday.
“Tehran’s moves to enrich uranium fuel to 20 percent are a deviation from the provisions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement released by Sputnik.
Iran has started producing 20 percent enriched uranium, the country’s nuclear organization said, confirming an announcement by the UN atomic watchdog that it was now exceeding the threshold set by a 2015 nuclear deal. The decision has sparked a series of statements condemning the increase in enrichment from multiple countries including the European Union, US, Israel, Japan, China, and others.
Russian Foreign Ministry added that these actions cannot be considered a violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, since Iran maintained transparency in everything related to its nuclear program and has allowed inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor the increase of enrichment.
China’s Foreign Ministry urged calm and restraint on Tuesday after Iran said it had resumed 20 percent uranium enrichment, breaching a 2015 nuclear pact with major powers, including China.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, speaking to reporters, said all parties should avoid taking steps that could exacerbate tensions.
Japan’s top government spokesman on Tuesday said the country was deeply concerned about Iran’s latest announcement of a resumption of 20 percent uranium enrichment.
“The government has strong concerns about this move, which is a breach of a nuclear agreement,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters.
The US also criticized Iran’s statement that it had begun the process of enriching uranium to 20 percent, well above the limit set in the 2015 nuclear deal that Washington abandoned, as a form of “nuclear extortion.”
The European Union said Tuesday it would redouble its efforts to save the Iran nuclear agreement despite what it calls Tehran’s “important breach” of commitments made in the 2015 deal by starting to enrich uranium to new levels.
EU spokesman Peter Stano said that Iran’s actions “will have serious implications when it comes to nuclear nonproliferation.” Stano said it was in everyone’s interest to rescue the deal and said the 27-nation bloc “will strengthen” its attempts to make sure all adhere to the commitments made in the landmark deal.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that arch foe Iran’s renewal of uranium enrichment proves that it is seeking to build nuclear arms despite its denials.
Netanyahu said in a statement that the move “cannot be explained in any way except as the continued realization of its intention to develop a military nuclear program”.