Iran’s nuclear program: US and Europeans warn of escalation | Free Press

Rome (dpa) – Without Iran’s swift return to the nuclear deal, according to the United States, France, Britain and Germany, “a dangerous escalation” could threaten.

The heads of state and government of the countries expressed their “great and growing concern” over an expansion of the Iranian nuclear program, as stated in a joint statement by US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Executive Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) since Saturday. On the sidelines of the G20 summit of the main economic powers in Rome, they discussed the imminent resumption of nuclear talks with Iran.

The only way to avoid a dangerous escalation, which does not suit any country, is to return to the international agreement, they declared in Rome. “We have expressed our determination to ensure that Iran can never develop or acquire nuclear weapons,” he said. The US government had previously stated that the meeting was about putting pressure on Iran through a united stance. Tehran wants to resume tough nuclear negotiations in Vienna in November.

Iran has recently expanded its nuclear program, for example by producing highly enriched uranium, for which there is no “credible civilian need,” he said. However, this is important for nuclear weapons programs, underscoring that Iran’s nuclear program is an international security risk, he said. “These steps are even more alarming when considering the fact that Iran has simultaneously reduced cooperation and transparency vis-à-vis the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).”

The United States is willing to return to the agreement and abide by it “unconditionally,” the four states declared. This would also allow sanctions to be lifted, boosting Iran’s ailing economy, he said. “That will only be possible if Iran changes course.” Iran’s current course jeopardizes the possibility of a return to the nuclear deal, he said. A sticking point in the negotiations was ultimately the question of who should act first: Should the Americans lift their sanctions first or should the Iranians reverse the expansion of their nuclear program? No agreement is in sight on the matter.

Talks that had taken place since April to reestablish the 2015 nuclear deal in Vienna broke down after the Iranian presidential elections in June and the subsequent change of government. The background to the talks is that the United States under former President Donald Trump unilaterally adopted the agreement in 2018 and decided on many new sanctions against Iran. As a result, Tehran began expanding its nuclear program again. The other contracting parties are working hard at the Vienna talks to reactivate the pact.

The agreement was aimed at preventing the construction of Iranian nuclear weapons. In return, the sanctions that are worrying Iran’s economy should be lifted. In Vienna, the remaining contractual partners China, France, Great Britain, Russia, Germany and the EU negotiated with Iran. American diplomats are only indirectly involved in the talks. The US government has emphasized that it wants to give negotiations a chance, but time is of the essence.

Vince Fernandez

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