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EU 'Highly Concerned' About Iran Nuclear Enrichment

FILE - A file handout picture released by Iran's Atomic Energy Organization on Nov. 6, 2019, shows the interior of the Fordow (Fordo) Uranium Conversion Facility in Qom, in the north of the country.

The European Union Tuesday expressed grave concern about reports from the U.N. nuclear watchdog that Iran had resumed enriching uranium and said it would continue working to salvage the multi-national nuclear deal that restricted such activities.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels, EU spokesman Peter Stano said that Iran’s actions “will have serious implications when it comes to nuclear nonproliferation.” Stano said that, despite Iran’s “regrettable action,” the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - more commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, “contains strict verification measures which are still in place."

Iran recently informed the International Atomic Energy Agency of its plans to increase enrichment to 20 percent, levels not seen since the nuclear deal was struck.

In 2018, President Donald Trump announced the United States was unilaterally withdrawing from the accord and has since reimposed sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the deal.

Analysts say this latest move by Tehran on uranium enrichment maybe an attempt to give it leverage in any future negotiations.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the action was “fully reversible" if other partners in the deal fully complied too, without elaborating.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has said he would like to return to the accord. Stano said it was in everyone’s interest to rescue the 2015 deal and said the bloc would strengthen its attempts to make sure all parties kept to their commitments.