US and Europeans warn of escalating nuclear dispute with Iran

The United States and the Europeans are pushing for the resumption of nuclear talks with Iran. Heads of government, including Chancellor Merkel, are concerned about Iranian uranium enrichment.

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Without a swift return by Iran to the nuclear deal, according to the United States, France, Britain and Germany, “a dangerous escalation” could threaten. The country’s heads of state and government expressed “great and growing concern” over the expansion of Iran’s nuclear program, as stated in a joint statement by US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Acting Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) starting 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.

“These steps are even more alarming”

Only by returning to the international agreement will it be possible to avoid “a dangerous escalation, which is not in the interests of any country,” 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).”

“That will only be possible if Iran changes course.”

The United States is ready to return to the agreement and adhere “unconditionally” to it, 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.

Chancellor Merkel said after the deliberations: “Of course we are counting on Iran’s return to the negotiating table.” However, time passes “and the enrichments continue in Iran. That worries us a lot.” For this reason, the time has come to “talk about what can be done to prevent Iran from being armed with nuclear weapons.”

The deal should prevent Iranian nuclear weapons from being built

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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