G7 foreign ministers meeting in Japan reiterated Tuesday that Iran “must never develop nuclear weapons,” and urged Tehran in a communique to cease nuclear escalation.
“We call on Iran to fulfil its legal obligations and political commitments regarding nuclear non-proliferation without further delay,” G7’s final communique said.
The G7 minister also expressed concern over Iran’s “destabilizing activities” in the region and transfer of weapons to Russia.
The United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany are the original signatories of the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement with Iran that restricted its nuclear program in exchange for suspension of international sanctions.
However, after US withdrawal from the deal in 2018 and imposition of sanctions, Tehran announced it will not be bound by JCPOA limitations and began enriching uranium at higher levels than set in the agreement.
Russia and China, Iran’s traditional allies, were also JCPOA signatories, but they put the onus of the deadlock on the United States, urging Washington to end its sanctions against Iran.
Subsequent negotiations in 2021 and 2022 to revive the JCPOA reached a deadlock last September, as Iran contuse to enrich uranium at the dangerously high 60-percent purity. Western government and experts say that it would be relatively easy and fast for Iran to enrich at 90 percent needed for producing a nuclear bomb. Iran has amassed enough enriched uranium at 60-percent that it can now further refine the stockpile and build two bombs.
“We remain deeply concerned about Iran’s unabated escalation of its nuclear program, which has no credible civilian justification and brings it dangerously close to actual weapon-related activities,” the G7 top diplomats said.
However, the G7 said that diplomacy remains their preferred path toward an agreement with Iran.
After talks broke down last year, Washington said that Tehran had balked at accepting a European Union compromise draft agreement and had presented “extraneous demands.”
Iran also has a major disagreement with UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over its secret nuclear activities more than two decades ago and has failed to provide satisfactory answers to the international watchdog.
The west had a chance to censure the Islamic Republic in IAEA’s board meeting in early March, but days before the meeting the Agency’s head Rafael Grossi decided to travel to Tehran and seek an agreement.
The result was that the two sides announced a deal for quick cooperation and Grossi returned with a “peace in our times” paper claiming his trip was not a failure.
Since then there has been no news of a follow-up or meetings between IAEA experts and Iranian officials to pursue a resolution to technical matters.
The G7 communique referred to this issue, once again asking Tehran to cooperate, while in March it decided not to censure Iran.
“We take note of Iran’s stated readiness to provide the IAEA with further information and access to address the outstanding safeguards issues, and its agreement to allow the IAEA to implement further appropriate verification and monitoring activities,” G7 ministers stated.
One reason the United States has put nuclear talks on ice is Iran’s supply of weapons to Russia.
“Iran must stop supporting the Russian military in its war of aggression. In particular, we call upon Iran to cease transferring armed UAVs, which have been used in Ukraine,” G7 demanded, and also brought up Tehran’s human rights violations.
“We reiterate our profound concern over Iran’s systemic human rights violations and abuses, especially with Iran’s efforts to oppress peaceful dissent through threats and intimidation.”
Source » iranintl