Iran is in the process of increasing its capacity to build nuclear weapons and it is urgent that Tehran and Washington return to the 2015 nuclear deal, the French foreign minister said in an interview published Saturday.
Earlier this month, the Islamic Republic began the process of producing 20% enriched uranium at the Fordow underground nuclear power plant, violating the terms of the 2015 International Agreement (JCPOA) on control of Tehran's nuclear program. Tehran had achieved this level of enrichment before reaching an agreement with world powers to limit its controversial nuclear ambitions.
Violations of the Tehran nuclear deal since Washington's ousted President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal in 2018, reinstating sanctions on Iran, could complicate President-elect Joe Biden's efforts to bring Iran back to power. agreement.
“The Trump administration has opted for what it calls a campaign of maximum pressure against Iran. “The result is that this strategy has only increased the risk and the threat,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told the Journal du Dimanche.
“This must stop because Iran and – I say this clearly – is in the process of acquiring its nuclear (weapons) capability.”
The main goal of the JCPOA agreement was to extend the time that Iran would need to produce enough fissile material to build a nuclear bomb, if it so chose, to at least one year from about two to three months. That agreement also lifted international sanctions against Tehran.
Iran denies any intention to use its nuclear program as a weapon.
With Iran's presidential election scheduled for June, Lendrian said it was urgent to “tell the Iranians enough about it” and bring Iran and the United States back to the agreement.
Biden has said he will bring the United States back to the agreement if Iran resumes its strict adherence. The Islamic Republic emphasizes that US sanctions must first be lifted before it can reverse its nuclear program.
However, the French Foreign Minister said that even if both sides return to the agreement, this is not enough.
“There will be difficult discussions about the proliferation of ballistic weapons and the destabilizing action of Iran in its neighboring countries in the region,” he added.