Paris - French President Emmanuel Macron urged Iran to immediately reduce its stockpiles of low-enriched uranium and stick to the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Macron said in a statement Tuesday that he “took note with concern” of Iran’s announcement that it has surpassed the limit of 300kg of low-enriched uranium laid out in the accord. Macron asked Iran also abstain from any other steps that would threaten the deal, which promised to lift trade sanctions in exchange for curbing Iran’s atomic program.
France strongly opposed President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the deal and impose new sanctions on Iran.
Russia’s top diplomat asked Iran to fulfil its obligations under its nuclear deal with world powers while calling on Europe to offer relief from US sanctions. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday that the US sanctions have effectively prevented Iran from selling the excess uranium it produces, contributing to its stockpiling.
He called on Tehran to “show restraint, not yield to emotions” and observe provisions of the deal.
China has expressed regret over Iran’s move to break limits on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium, but said Washington’s pressure campaign is the root cause of tensions.
Meanwhile, Britain, France and Germany will not for the moment trigger a dispute resolution mechanism enshrined in the 2015 Iran nuclear accord that could lead to the reimposition of United Nations sanctions, two European diplomats said.
Iran’s announcement on Monday that it had amassed more low-enriched uranium than permitted was confirmed by UN
nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which monitors Iran’s nuclear programme under the deal. “Not for now. We want to defuse the crisis,” said one European diplomat.
This came as Iran rejected on Tuesday a White House accusation that Tehran was long violating the terms of its nuclear deal with world powers, after the Islamic Republic said it had amassed more low-enriched uranium than permitted under the accord.
“Seriously?” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a message on social network Twitter, after a statement by White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham that said, “There is little doubt that even before the deal’s existence, Iran was violating its terms.” Tehran’s announcement drew a warning from President Donald Trump that Tehran was “playing with fire.”