Iran's resumption of uranium enrichment to 20% is a retreat from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran's nuclear program, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova told TASS.
"This issue has nothing to do with Iran's compliance with its obligations under the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. From this point of view, there are no claims to the Iranian side. All material enriched to 20% is under IAEA control. The Agency does not record its diversion to undeclared uses that would contradict the NPT," she said. - "At the same time, the resumption of uranium enrichment to 20% is a deviation from the agreements set forth in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to resolve the Iranian nuclear program".
She pointed out that the reason for Iran's decision to enrich uranium at the Fordow site was US pressure. "In recent years, the international community has developed a clear understanding that the root cause of such deviations is systematic gross violations of international obligations by the United States, which, contrary to Article 25 of the UN Charter, does not comply with UNSC Resolution 2231 and deliberately creates obstacles to its implementation by other countries. Once again, the JCPOA project to convert Fordow to stable isotope production has long been under Washington's sanctions, which is absolutely unacceptable," Zakharova said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson noted that Moscow pays tribute to regular statements by the Iranian side about its readiness to return to full implementation of the JCPOA agreements, taking into account the balance of interests. "The facts, however, are that it will now take additional efforts and costs to bring the Fordow site back in line with the JCPOA," she continued.
According to her, Iran's actions are "crucial also for the continuation of the work to repurpose the site, which is an integral part of the nuclear deal." "Thus, the task of creating conditions for the sustainable implementation of comprehensive agreements has become significantly more difficult," Zakharova stressed.
Prescriptions for normalization
The diplomat also pointed out that during the December 21 ministerial meeting, Russia repeatedly stressed that "recipes for normalization around the JCPOA are embedded in it itself" and imply consistent implementation of the agreements by all countries that developed and concluded them. "The consensus Joint Statement outlined a vector for moving forward. All countries participating in the JCPOA, including Iran, spoke about the need to address the remaining challenges to the implementation of the Action Plan, pressing the US to immediately abandon its subversive course and fulfill its obligations under UNSCR 2231 without any preconditions," she said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson stressed that when this happens, Tehran should be ready to reciprocate. "The premise is that this is where all available energy should be directed, focusing and working collectively on eliminating accumulated problems and not creating new ones," Zakharova concluded.
The situation around the deal
Following the US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran's nuclear program in 2018, Iran began a phased suspension of its uranium enrichment and research commitments in 2019, and in early January 2020 announced the end of the process. On January 1, 2021, IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi notified the agency's Board of Governors and the UN Security Council of Iran's intention to begin enriching uranium to 20 percent. On January 4, Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei announced that Tehran had started the process of enriching uranium to 20 percent at the Fordow site.
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Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry