EU Demands Iran Undo Uranium Enrichment for Diplomacy

Warns 20% enrichment is undermining the chances of saving the deal

The European Union has issued a new statement to Iran, mirroring previous criticisms of the decision to enrich uranium to 20%, and demanding that they immediately reverse the move, saying it is the only chance to save the P5+1 nuclear deal.

The Union warns that 20% has “potentially severe proliferation implications.” That’s not really true, but mirrors previous statements from the EU parties to the deal, as well as those of the US.

20% enriched uranium is purely for civilian use, and far below weapons-grade. 20% uranium is used for fuel rods for the Tehran Research Reactor, which is producing all of Iran’s medical isotopes.

Iran’s parliament ordered the stepping up of enrichment to protest the assassination of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Their mandate includes more centrifuges and the higher enrichment levels.

Iranian officials say everything is wholly reversible, but have conditioned that on bringing the nuclear deal back into effect. That includes sanctions relief promised in the deal, which parliament has given them until February 21 to make happen, or face expulsion of IAEA inspectors.

The hope is that a deal can still be reached, though President-elect Biden is facing some resistance from Congressional Democrats, who are hoping he will take a similar hard-line approach against Iran.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.