EU stands by nuclear deal after Iran flouts enrichment commitments

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The European Union (EU) views Iran’s decision to take uranium enrichment levels way beyond what is allowed in the 2015 nuclear deal with “deep concern,” but will step up efforts to hold on to the accord, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.

The move is a “serious departure” from the Islamic republic’s commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), EU foreign affairs spokesperson Peter Stano told reporters in Brussels.

But “we are redoubling the efforts to preserve this agreement,” he added, this being the declared intention of all parties.

Tehran announced on Monday that it had begun enriching uranium up to 20 per cent, far outside the 3.67-per-cent limit.

The 2015 agreement between Iran and leading world powers required it to limit production to low-enriched uranium, good for only civilian purposes, in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

But after U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled Washington out of the deal, Tehran said it no longer felt bound by the agreement.

Since then, it has incrementally violated the limitations set down several times.

Low-enriched uranium is used for nuclear power, whereas highly enriched uranium to the order of 90 per cent can be used to produce atomic weapons.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the measure could be reversed if all participants fully complied with the deal.

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