Tehran (AFP) – European powers urged Iran on Tuesday to reverse its move to increase uranium enrichment, as a French envoy arrived in Tehran to boost efforts to save a landmark 2015 nuclear deal.
The accord between Iran and world powers promised sanctions relief, economic benefits and an end to international isolation of the Islamic republic in return for stringent curbs on its nuclear programme.
But Tehran says it has lost patience with perceived inaction by European countries more than a year after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the agreement.
The European parties to the deal along with the EU’s diplomatic chief on Tuesday called on Tehran to reverse breaches of the agreement.
“The foreign ministers of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom and the (EU) High Representative express deep concern that Iran is pursuing activities inconsistent with its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA),” they said in a statement, using the deal’s official name.
“It must act accordingly by reversing these activities and returning to full JCPoA compliance without delay.”
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), tasked with inspections, while Iran consistently lived up to its commitments under the deal until recently, it is now in breach of two of them.
– Rising tensions –
French President Emmanuel Macron sent his top diplomatic advisor to Tehran after Iran announced on Monday it had passed 4.5 percent uranium enrichment — above the 3.67 percent limit under the agreement though still far below the 90 percent necessary for military purposes.
Emmanuel Bonne arrived in the Iranian capital on Tuesday afternoon, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.
A meeting with Rear-Admiral Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, is planned for Wednesday morning.
Bonne is “to piece together a deescalation” strategy, the French presidency’s office said.