European powers, US warn Iran against ending UN nuclear inspections

In a joint statement, European powers and the United States warn Iran against limiting international inspections of its nuclear facilities, calling the proposed move “grave action.”

A bill adopted by the Iranian parliament in December following the killing of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, which Tehran blamed on Israel, says Iran will restrict some UN nuclear agency inspections by February 21 if the US does not lift the sanctions imposed since 2018.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian hosted his German and British counterparts in Paris, with America’s new Secretary of State Antony Blinken joining via videoconference for a meeting Thursday.

After the meeting, in a lengthy statement, they say: “The E3 and the United States are united in underlining the dangerous nature of a decision to limit IAEA access, and urge Iran to consider the consequences of such grave action, particularly at this time of renewed diplomatic opportunity.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to staff at the US State Department during the first visit of US President Joe Biden (L) in Washington, DC, February 4, 2021. (SAUL LOEB / AFP)

The statement urges Iran to return to “full compliance” with the 2015 nuclear accord and not to take further steps away from the pact.

“Secretary Blinken reiterated that, as President Biden has said, if Iran comes back into strict compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA, the United States will do the same and is prepared to engage in discussions with Iran toward that end,” the statement says.

“The E3 welcomed the prospect of a US and Iranian return to compliance with the JCPOA. The E3 and the United States affirmed their determination to then strengthen the JCPOA and, together with regional parties and the wider international community, address broader security concerns related to Iran’s missile programs and regional activities. We are committed to working together toward these goals,” they say.

An Iranian technician walks through the Uranium Conversion Facility just outside the city of Isfahan, 255 miles (410 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, February 3, 2007. (Vahid Salemi/AP)

The European states and the US also condemn Iran’s recent uranium enrichment and production of uranium metal.

“These activities have no credible civil justification. Uranium metal production is a key step in the development of a nuclear weapon,” they say.

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