Iran’s decision to enrich uranium to 60% is not conducive to the ongoing negotiations on a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program. This was announced on April 16 by US President Joe Biden at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in the White House Rose Garden.
“We do not support and do not think that it will bring any benefit when Iran says that it is going to switch to enrichment (uranium – Ed.) Up to 60%. This is contrary to the agreement, “- said the American leader at a press conference, which was broadcast on the website of the White House.
Commenting on the situation around the nuclear deal with Tehran, Biden expressed the opinion that it is too early to judge this, since negotiations are still underway. The matter concerns the consultations of the members of the Joint Commission of Iran and the international “five” (Russia, Great Britain, Germany, France, China) in Vienna on the issue of restoring the implementation of the JCPOA on the Iranian nuclear program. The American delegation in the Austrian capital meets with all members of the commission, except Iran.
On April 16, Russia’s permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, stated that representatives of the joint commission of Iran and the international “five” are set to work to fully restore the implementation of the JCPOA on the Iranian nuclear program.
Iran from April 14 was going to start enriching uranium to 60%. For this, the installation of 1,000 new centrifuges was announced at the Natanz nuclear facility. The state informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about its plans.
Iran’s decision to enrich uranium to 60% worried Britain, Germany and France. They said the measure would significantly increase Iran’s uranium enrichment capabilities. According to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Tehran’s decision casts doubt on the seriousness of its intentions regarding negotiations on a nuclear deal.
On April 14, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani explained that the country’s enrichment of uranium up to 60% and the installation of new centrifuges were a response to the actions of Israel, which Tehran considers to be involved in the accident at the Natanz nuclear facility on April 11.
After the incident, the representative of the Atomic Energy Organization, Behruz Kamalwandi, said that the incident occurred due to a slight explosion, as a result of which no one was injured. Iranian Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi called the incident a terrorist act.
On April 13, the United States called Tehran’s decision on enrichment a provocation and noted that they expect the continuation of negotiations on the nuclear deal.
In March this year, Iran began uranium enrichment with a cascade of advanced IR-4 centrifuges. It was noted that these devices make it possible to enrich uranium faster and in large quantities than the first generation IR-1 centrifuges – the only ones allowed to Iran by the international Vienna agreement.
In 2015, a JCPOA was signed, it assumed the lifting of sanctions on Iran in exchange for limiting the country’s nuclear program. However, in May 2018, the United States withdrew from the deal and reinstated tough sanctions against Tehran. In turn, in 2019, Iran announced a phased reduction of its obligations under the agreement.