The reactor building of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran (AFP)
WASHINGTON (AP) – The United States on Tuesday warned Iran to halt nuclear “risky policy,” saying the country’s latest efforts to enrich uranium could complicate its return to talks aimed at restarting the 2015 nuclear deal.
“We continue to urge Iran to stop this risky policy, to return to Vienna prepared for real talks and to be in a position to be prepared to finish the job” that began in April, State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported Tuesday that Iran intended to enrich uranium to 20 percent, in the latest sign that the Vienna talks to reactivate the joint comprehensive plan of action could be stalled.
The move takes Iran one step closer to developing materials that could be used to make a nuclear weapon.
“It is concerning that Iran is choosing to continue to increase its breach of its commitments to the JCPOA, especially with experiments that have value for nuclear weapons research,” Price said.
“It is another unfortunate step backwards for Iran.”
European powers also spoke out on Tuesday, with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany expressing “grave concern” and warning that Iran’s move jeopardizes the talks in Vienna.
While Tehran insists that it is only interested in nuclear technology for energy purposes, it has gradually moved away from the terms of the agreement it signed with world powers in 2015.
Then-President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the deal in 2018, but President Biden’s administration has expressed its willingness to re-enter the JCPOA if Iran meets certain conditions.
Price said there was no set timetable for closing the window on negotiations with the Islamic republic.
But he made clear that Washington would reconsider whether Iran continued its “provocative steps” aimed at reducing the escape time for Iran to produce enough fissile material for a one-year bomb at the time of the JCPOA to reportedly just a few months. today.
“We see negotiations and diplomacy … as, for now, the best means of putting Iran’s nuclear program back in a box,” he said.