Britain, France and Germany must be ready to react to Iran’s breaches of its 2015 nuclear deal and this could mean re-imposing international sanctions on Tehran, though Europe still wants to save the accord, the German foreign minister said on Monday.
Iran said last week it had resumed low-grade uranium enrichment at its underground Fordow nuclear plant and at the weekend said it could refine up to 60 percent of fissile purity, not far off the 90 percent level needed for nuclear bomb fuel - its most significant breaches of the deal with world powers.
The European Union, though desperate to rescue the accord it helped negotiate, has been unable to convince Iran to abide by it because EU efforts to protect trade and financial dividends for Iran linked to the deal have been stymied by US sanctions.
Iran’s reactivation of Fordow is especially sensitive as it concealed the site from UN non-proliferation inspectors until its exposure in 2009, and it is built inside a mountain to withstand any air strikes.
Iran has long maintained that it wants nuclear energy only for civilian applications.
The Trump administration argues the 2015 deal did not place curbs on Iran’s nuclear capability of sufficient rigor or duration and failed to address its ballistic missile program.
While other EU governments are not directly involved in trying to shore up the nuclear accord, their view is important to Berlin, Paris and London.
“All options must be discussed, we have to keep up the pressure because we do not see progress (with Tehran),” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told Reuters.