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    Unidentified International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors and Iranian technicians are on hand to cut the connections between the twin cascades for 20 percent uranium enrichment at Natanz facility, some 200 miles (322 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, Monday, Jan. 20, 2014

    Paris Says Iran Approaching 'Red Line' on Uranium Enrichment

    © AP Photo / IRNA, Kazem Ghane
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    Earlier, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran had informed the International Atomic Energy Agency that Tehran was planning to increase its uranium enrichment capacity.

    French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said that Tehran's statement that it could increase its uranium enrichment capacity if a nuclear deal falls apart risks moving close to the "red line."

    "I think this initiative is not welcome, it shows irritation [of Tehran]. It is always dangerous to approach a 'red line.' But, as for now, the initiative that has been undertaken to increase capacities on uranium enrichment remains fully within the bounds of the Vienna agreement… What was announced yesterday remains fully within the framework of the agreement," Le Drian told the Europe 1 broadcaster.

    The French minister added that plans to save the nuclear agreement remain unchanged.

    READ MORE: China to Continue Business Relations With Iran Despite US Withdrawal From JCPOA

    On May 8, US President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He also vowed to reinstate the sanctions against Iran that were lifted as a result of the agreement.

    The leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom expressed their regret over Trump's decision in a joint statement, stressing their countries' commitment to the JCPOA.

    On July 14, 2015, the European Union and the P5+1 group of countries — China, Germany, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the US — signed the JCPOA with Iran. The agreement stipulated a gradual lifting of anti-Iranian economic sanctions in exchange for Tehran curbing its nuclear program and allowing inspections to ensure that the nature of the program is peaceful.

    US Policies on Steel Tariffs Unlawful

    Jean-Yves Le Drian considers the US decision to impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum from the EU illegal and unacceptable.

    "The US initiatives on this issue are illegal from the point of view of international law, they are unacceptable to the allies," Le Drian said.

    The EU trade commissioner has already dismissed any possibility of negotiations with the US until Europe is guaranteed an "unconditional and permanent" exemption from tariffs.

    In March, the United States introduced a 25-percent tariff on imported steel and a 10-percent tariff on imported aluminum. A number of countries, including the European Union, were exempted first until May 1 and then for one more month until June 1. Media say that close allies of the United States, including Canada, Mexico and South Korea, are likely to get permanent exemptions from the tariffs.


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    uranium enrichment, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Jean-Yves Le Drian, Iran, France
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