Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Tehran’s decision to resume uranium enrichment at Fordow nuclear facility is an “extremely alarming” move, but does not violate the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Lavrov on Wednesday said events unfolding around the 2015 nuclear deal were deeply disturbing, but the US is to blame for putting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the verge of collapse by its unilateral withdrawal from the accord.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, also said Moscow understood Tehran’s concerns over the “unprecedented and illegal sanctions” against the country.
China also said the US should blame itself, arguing that its exit from the deal is the root cause of the tensions.
“As we repeatedly pointed out, the root cause of sustained tensions around the Iranian nuclear issue lies with the US’ unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA and its maximum pressure campaign against Iran,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang.
The Chinese spokesman called on the US to abandon what he called “the wrong strategies such as unilateral sanctions and maximum pressure.”
“In the meantime, Iran and all other parties to the JCPOA need to exercise restraint, implement the deal effectively and in full, and stick to the JCPOA framework to resolve disputes.”
Iran signals intent to leave deal: Macron
Speaking in China, French President Emmanuel Macron called Iran’s latest move “grave”, saying it explicitly signaled Iran’s intent for the first time to leave the deal.
“I think that for the first time, Iran has decided in an explicit and blunt manner to leave the JCPOA, which marks a profound shift,” said Macron, who has been at the forefront of efforts by European signatories to salvage the deal after the United States withdrew.
In an operation that started at 00:00 local time (20:30 GMT) on Thursday, November 7, Iran officially began injecting gas into hundreds of centrifuges at underground Fordow nuclear plant in the fourth step away from the 2015 nuclear deal.
PressTV-Iran starts injecting gas into centrifuges at Fordow plantIran says it has officially started injecting gas into hundreds of centrifuges at Fordow nuclear facility in fourth step away from the 2015 nuclear deal.
The process started after the transfer of a 2,800-kilogram cylinder containing 2,000 kilograms of UF6 (uranium hexafluoride) from Natanz nuclear facility to Fordow – near the city of Qom, where 1,044 centrifuges are installed.
The spokesman for the AEOI had earlier said the injection of uranium hexafluoride is being monitored by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The fourth step in Iran’s commitment reductions was initially announced by President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday.
The Islamic Republic says the suspension of its commitments is not a violation of the JCPOA but is based on Articles 26 and 36 of the agreement itself. The country has repeatedly said the moves are reversible in case other parties to the JCPOA live up to their commitments.