Germany on Wednesday criticized Iran’s recent move to start enriching uranium at an underground facility and urged Tehran to return to full compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement.
“This is unacceptable,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told a news conference in Berlin, referring to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s announcement that Iran was beginning injecting gas to 1,044 centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility.
“This step is incompatible with Iran’s obligations under the nuclear deal. By this, Iran continues to put at stake the agreement,” Maas warned.
“So we strongly urge Iran to reverse all steps that have been taken since July and return to full compliance with its obligations,” he added.
Iran started to cut its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, also known as JCPOA, in a retaliatory move following the unilateral decision by the U.S. to withdraw from the agreement, and the EU’s failure to fulfil its commitments.
Iran started injecting gas into centrifuges at its underground Fordow nuclear facility on Wednesday, in the presence of inspectors from the UN nuclear watchdog IAEA, according to the state television.
Tehran says gas injection in Fordow is the fourth step of decreasing its commitments to the 2015 nuclear agreement.
Germany’s top diplomat said that Berlin was in talks with its partners at the moment to discuss how to deal with the situation.
“Our goal continues to be maintaining the nuclear deal,” he said, and reaffirmed the commitment of EU’s major powers to the nuclear agreement.
“It’s important that now Iran comes back to the compliance and helps reducing the tensions that have resulted from the recent breaches,” he added.
The nuclear agreement was signed in 2015 between Iran and Russia, China, France, the U.K., and the U.S., plus Germany.
However, last year U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the deal and intensified pressure on Tehran by re-imposing sanctions targeting the country’s energy and banking sectors.
By Ayhan Simsek in Berlin