The foreign ministers of the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France stressed their “shared fundamental security interest in upholding the nuclear non-proliferation regime and ensuring that Iran can never develop a nuclear weapon,” the UK said on Thursday.
“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,” the UK foreign ministry said in a statement.
“E3 and the United States called on Iran not to take any additional steps, in particular with respect to the suspension of the Additional Protocol and to any limitations on IAEA verification activities in Iran,” it added.
Iran had said on Monday it informed the International Atomic Energy Agency of its plan to end sweeping inspection powers given to the agency under the 2015 nuclear deal.
President Joe Biden’s administration aims to return the United States to the deal, which his predecessor Donald Trump abandoned in 2018. Under the deal, Iran agreed to curbs on its uranium enrichment program in return for the lifting of sanctions.
After Trump quit and re-imposed sanctions, Iran began violating some of the deal’s limits on sensitive uranium enrichment.
Washington and Tehran now disagree over how best to restore the accord, with both sides demanding the other side act first to return to compliance.
The E3 and US expressed concern and condemned Iran’s latest moves to enrich uranium up to 20 percent and produce uranium metal.
“These activities have no credible civil justification. Uranium metal production is a key step in the development of a nuclear weapon,” they said.
Iran has long denied striving to develop nuclear weapons through uranium enrichment, though its intelligence minister said last week persistent Western pressure could push Tehran to fight back like a “cornered cat” and seek nuclear weapons.
“The E3 and the United States affirmed their determination to then strengthen the [nuclear deal] and, together with regional parties and the wider international community, address broader security concerns related to Iran’s missile programs and regional activities,” the statement read.