The governments of Britain, France, and Germany on Wednesday said they have “grave concern” over the announcement that Iran would start enriching uranium up to 60%.
A joint statement from the three countries described Iran’s Wednesday decision as “a serious development since the production of highly enriched uranium constitutes an important step in the production of a nuclear weapon.”
It added: “Iran has no credible civilian need for enrichment at this level.”
“We also express our concern at the news that Iran plans to install 1000 additional centrifuges at Natanz, which will significantly increase Iran’s enrichment capacity,” the statement added, referring to a facility in central Iran that suffered an attack on Sunday.
It further said Iran’s announcements are “particularly regrettable” as they come at a time when all participants in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal – formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) – and the US “have started substantive discussions, with the objective of finding a rapid diplomatic solution to revitalize and restore the JCPoA.”
“Iran’s dangerous recent communication is contrary to the constructive spirit and good faith of these discussions,” it said.
“In light of recent developments, we reject all escalatory measures by any actor and call upon Iran not to further complicate the diplomatic process,” the statement added.
Iran informed the international nuclear watchdog Tuesday of its plan to ramp up uranium enrichment following the attack at its Natanz nuclear facility, located in the Isfahan province,
Confirming the development, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Tehran had communicated its intention to start producing uranium hexafluoride (UF6) enriched up to 60% at a pilot fuel enrichment plant at Natanz.
Tehran has blamed the Natanz attack on Israel.
Iran had been enriching uranium up to 20% since the beginning of this year, even though under the nuclear deal, it had agreed to enrich only up to 3.67%.