Europeans Express ‘Grave Concerns’ Over Latest Iran Nuclear Advances

Joint statement claims they are 'serious violations' of the JCPOA

The three European parties to Iran’s nuclear deal, Germany, France, and Britain, have issued a joint statement on Iran’s latest nuclear developments, expressing “grave concern” and accusing them of amounting to “serious violations” of the JCPOA.

This is in response to two IAEA reports this week, reporting on Iran’s creation of uranium metal and configuration of a pair of centrifuge cascades to enrich uranium to 60 percent.

Iran made the uranium metal as part of a process to create fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor. The 60% enrichment is done at the behest of Iran’s parliament, which ordered it as a way of protesting Israeli sabotage attacks.

The claim that the moves are a violation of JCPOA commitments is an overstatement, and a serious misinterpretation of what is actually going on. Iran has been very public with its intentions, and notes quite correctly that everything is entirely legal per the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

More specifically, Iran is attempting to seek remedy under the JCPOA by going beyond the agreement’s scope, aiming to encourage negotiations in which everybody would come back into compliance. The JCPOA promised Iran substantial sanctions relief, but the US not only failed to deliver on this, but openly blocked other partner nations, particularly the three European parties, from offering sanctions relief.

While the European nations are eager to fault Iran for its actions trying to push for a remedy, they have rarely commented on serious US violations of the JCPOA, instead pushing Iran to get back into compliance unilaterally.

The reason Iran wouldn’t and shouldn’t do that unilaterally is because in the absence of the US complying with its obligations, Iran’s actions are the only reason talks are happening at all. For years, the European nations have proven perfectly happy with the status quo.

So while Iran points out that everything is entirely reversible, and that they could quickly get back into full compliance with the letter of the JCPOA, that is being conditioned on the other parties, mainly the US, bringing themselves back into full compliance as well, and delivering the sanctions relief Iran needs.

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.