In a joint communique released on Monday, France, Germany and the United Kingdom called upon Iran to return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
The three nations also expressed their concern by Iran’s decision to resume uranium enrichment at the Fordow facility.
"The Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom and the High Representative of the European Union are extremely concerned by the latest announcements that Iran is restarting uranium enrichment activities at the Fordow facility, as confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its November 11 report," the statement says.
"Iran’s action is inconsistent with the JCPoA’s clear provisions on Fordow and has potentially severe proliferation implications," it says. "It represents a regrettable acceleration of Iran’s disengagement from commitments under the JCPoA," TASS reports.
The foreign ministers of the three nations urge Tehran "to reverse all measures inconsistent with the JCPoA, including exceeding the maximum allowed low enriched uranium stockpile and the maximum allowed enrichment limits, and not respecting the limits set by the JCPoA on nuclear R&D activities."
"We underline the importance of the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA by all sides and confirm our determination to continue all efforts to preserve the agreement, which is in the interests of all," the document reads.
The three nations believe that "Iran must return to full implementation of its commitments under the JCPoA without delay" and "fully cooperate with the IAEA within the framework of the JCPoA."
"We stand ready to continue our diplomatic efforts to create the conditions for, and to facilitate, the de-escalation of tensions in the Middle East, in the interest of preserving international peace and security," the three foreign ministers said.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, was signed between Iran and six international mediators (the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Russia, the United States, and France) in July 2015. Under the deal, Iran undertook to curb its nuclear activities and place them under total control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in exchange of abandonment of the sanctions imposed previously by the United Nations Security Council, the European Union and the United States over its nuclear program.
Iran pledged not to enrich uranium above the level of 3.67% for 15 years and maintain enriched uranium stockpiles at the level not exceeding 300 kg, as well as not to build new heavy-water reactors, not to accumulate heavy water and not to develop nuclear explosive devices.
The future of the Iranian nuclear deal was called in question after the United States’ unilateral pullout on May 8, 2018 and Washington’s unilateral oil export sanctions against Tehran. Iran argues that all other participants, Europeans in the first place, ignore some of their own obligations in the economic sphere, thus making the deal in its current shape senseless.
In May 2019, Iran declared the first phase of suspending some of its commitments (60-day suspension of enriched uranium sales). In July, Tehran proceeded with the second phase of the suspension (by declaring uranium enrichment to above 3.67%) and promised to reduce its commitments further on each 60 days unless the other signatories restore compliance with the concluded agreements.
On September 6, Iran said it was proceeding to the third stage of reduction of its nuclear deal commitments and dropped restrictions of research activities.
On November 6, Iran started injecting uranium gas into centrifuges at its Fordow facility, which effectively meant the start of the fourth stage of reduction of Tehran’s nuclear commitments.