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Iran reaffirms nuclear program “peaceful” in response to E3-U.S. statement

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Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Friday that the country’s nuclear program “has always been and will remain peaceful” as frequently stressed.

Nasser Kanaani made the remarks in response to a joint statement by the governments of the United States and the E3 group of France, Britain and Germany, in which they cited an IAEA report, accusing Iran of having “increased its rate of production of uranium enriched up to 60 percent at Natanz and Fordow” facilities.

Kanaani said that “instead of resorting to projection and adopting political positions, the E3 and the United States should review their performance about the talks on the (revival of a 2015 nuclear deal and) removal of the sanctions (on Iran) over the past two years and see the outcomes of their unconstructive policies.”

He noted that enriching uranium to 60 percent at Iran’s enrichment centers had always been “in proportion to the country’s peaceful needs and completely under the IAEA’s supervision and will continue.”

The spokesman emphasized that Iran was fully aware of its rights and international commitments and would continue its cooperation with the agency within that framework.

In their statement issued on Thursday, the E3 and the United States cited an IAEA report saying “Iran has increased its rate of production of uranium enriched up to 60 percent at Natanz and Fordow to levels observed between January and June 2023. These findings represent a backward step by the country and will result in Iran tripling its monthly production rate of uranium enriched up to 60 percent.”

They “condemned the action,” and urged that “Iran should immediately reverse these steps and de-escalate its nuclear program.”

Iran signed the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with world powers in July 2015, agreeing to put some curbs on its nuclear program in return for the removal of sanctions on the country. The U.S., however, pulled out of the deal in May 2018 and reimposed its unilateral sanctions on Tehran, prompting the latter to drop some of its nuclear commitments under the deal.

The talks on the revival of the JCPOA began in April 2021 in Vienna, Austria. Despite several rounds of talks, no significant breakthrough has been achieved since the end of the last round in August 2022.

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