05:49 GMT03 August 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Moscow is concerned about the situation surrounding Tehran's plans to produce uranium metal and calls on negotiators in Vienna to boost efforts on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Sputnik on Wednesday.

    "We do not consider it justified now to be distracted by other tasks, except for the restoration of the full-fledged functioning of the JCPOA", Ryabkov said.

    With Tehran determined to carry on with its plans, Moscow calls on the Iranian authorities to fully comply with the IAEA Safeguards Agreement, the diplomat added.

    "At the same time, it should be noted that any Iranian actions for the development of the country's nuclear programme do not carry proliferation risks, provided they are aligned with the IAEA Safeguards Agreement".

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told Sputnik on Tuesday that Iran would produce uranium metal enriched to 20% for a research reactor in Tehran. France, Germany, and the United Kingdom were prompt to respond to the announcement, saying the decision is a serious violation of Iran's commitments under the JCPOA.

    "We the foreign ministers of the governments of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, note with grave concern the latest report by the IAEA confirming that Iran has taken steps in the production of enriched uranium metal. This is a serious violation of Iran's commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Iran has no credible civilian need for uranium metal R&D and production, which are a key step in the development of a nuclear weapon. This further step in Iran's escalation of its nuclear violations is all the more concerning at a time when no date has been set for the continuation of the negotiations in Vienna on a return to the JCPOA", the E3 statement read.

    The US, in turn, called the move "worrying".

    The IAEA and Tehran reached the Safeguards Agreement, or the Agreement for the Application of Safeguards in Connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, back in 1974.

    The document grants the watchdog the right to verify that Tehran's nuclear developments are transparent and non-military. In 2003, the sides inked the Additional Protocol to the agreement, which allows the agency to inspect Iran's nuclear facilities.

    In 2015, Iran signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, the US, Germany, and the EU. It required the country to scale back its nuclear programme and severely downgrade its uranium reserves in exchange for sanctions relief, including lifting an arms embargo five years after the deal's adoption. In 2018, the US abandoned its conciliatory stance on Iran, withdrawing from the JCPOA and implementing hard-line policies against Tehran.

    Iran, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), nuclear deal, Iran Nuclear Deal, uranium, uranium enrichment
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