The European Union on Tuesday censured Iran for installing advanced centrifuges, warning the move could boost Tehran’s enrichment capabilities and was “inconsistent” with the international accord meant to limit its nuclear program.
“This is a further reduction of [Iran’s] commitments under the JCPOA,” an EU spokesperson said, referring to the 2015 deal by its formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Over the weekend, Iran announced it had begun installing advanced centrifuges in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal. It had already broken the limits on uranium enrichment levels and the overall stockpile of enriched uranium that were laid down in the JCPOA.
The installation of the centrifuges, which was confirmed by the UN’s nuclear watchdog, came after a deadline given by Iran for the deal’s European signatories to grant it economic relief from American sanctions, which were imposed as part of US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the accord last year.
“The recent installation of centrifuges is inconsistent with the JCPOA, and the intended installation of more centrifuges is extremely worrisome as it could significantly increase Iran’s enrichment capacity,” the EU spokesperson said.
“We have been clear and consistent that our commitment to the nuclear deal depends on full compliance by Iran,” the spokesperson added.
The spokesperson called for Iran “to reverse all activities inconsistent with its commitments” to the nuclear deal and not to take “any further measures that undermine the preservation and full implementation” of the accord.
The rebuke from the EU came after Tehran hit out European powers on Sunday, saying they had left Iran little option but to scale back its commitments under the JCPOA.
Iran has said that notwithstanding its reduction of commitments under the JCPOA, it will continue to allow access to inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency who monitor its nuclear program.
On Sunday the IAEA’s Acting Director General Cornel Feruta was in Tehran, where he met senior Iranian officials.
After the IAEA assessment was released on Monday, Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz called on the remaining signatories of the 2015 deal — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — to follow the US example by abandoning the accord and re-imposing sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahau also urged European powers to leave the nuclear accord in a speech later Monday, in which he publicized photos of what Israel says was a secret facility used by Iran for nuclear experiments.
“I call on the international community to wake up, to realize that Iran is systematically [violating the deal],” the premier said.
“The only way to stop Iran’s march to the bomb, and its aggression in the region, is pressure, pressure, and more pressure.”
There was no EU reaction to Netanyahu’s claims.