Iran accused European nations of hypocrisy yesterday for criticizing its latest step back from a nuclear deal while failing to fulfill their commitments of relief from U.S. sanctions. But President Hassan Rouhani made no mention of a new report from the U.N. nuclear watchdog that reveals that its inspectors detected uranium particles of man-made origin at an undeclared site in Iran.
Britain, France, Germany and the EU have been trying to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal since the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from it in May last year and began reimposing sanctions. In a joint statement on Monday, Britain, France, Germany and the European Union said Iran's decision to restart activities at Fordow was "inconsistent" with a 2015 nuclear deal. German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass had on Monday threatened the use of "all the mechanisms laid down in the agreement" to make Iran comply with its obligations under the JCPOA.
A year after the U.S. pullout from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran began reducing its commitments to the deal hoping to win concessions from those still party to the accord. Iran's latest measure came last week, when engineers began feeding uranium hexafluoride gas into mothballed enrichment centrifuges at the underground Fordow plant south of Tehran.
Rouhani said Iran only began scaling back its nuclear commitments a year after the U.S. withdrawal to give the other parties time to make up for it. "We waited for a year," Rouhani told a televised news conference. "Nobody in the world can blame us by saying 'Why are you abandoning your commitments under the JCPOA today and why have you launched Fordow today?'" he said. "This is a problem that the enemy has created for us," he said, referring to Iran's arch-foe the U.S.