Policy Statement: E3 Action on Iran’s Uranium Enrichment

ELNET calls on E3 to back up its statement on Iran’s uranium enrichment with appropriate action.

As the parties to the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) engage in Vienna in efforts to revive the deal, Iran continues to ramp up severe violations, most recently unprecedented and dangerous uranium enrichment to 60% – one grade below military enrichment. ELNET expresses grave concerns over these violations and calls for an appropriate European response, coordinated with the United States, that goes beyond rhetoric.

ELNET welcomes the April 14th statement of the governments of the United Kingdom, France and Germany (the E3), criticizing Iran’s decision to enrich uranium up to 60% using advanced centrifuges, and to deploy one thousand additional centrifuges at Natanz. The E3 rightly emphasize that the production of highly enriched uranium is a dangerous step towards a nuclear weapon, given that Iran has no credible civilian need for enrichment at this level.

It should be emphasized that these and other accumulating Iranian violations are not only meant to acquire negotiating cards, but also to shift the baseline of Iran’s nuclear program away from the original JCPOA baseline to which Iran is supposed to return.    

ELNET values diplomacy as a preferred policy tool to check Iran’s dangerous ambitions. However, for diplomacy to succeed it must be backed by significant disincentives in the face of Iranian brinkmanship. Iran’s behavior is a direct affront to Europe, which is clearly demonstrating the good will required for a diplomatic solution, and should be countered as such. Failing to provide such a response would only encourage Iran to escalate its violations to even more dangerous levels.    

ELNET urgently calls on the European Union and the E3 to coordinate with the United States a transatlantic approach that backs up their statement with active steps to counter Iran’s provocative moves. The EU should also consult closely with allies in the region, including Israel, who are directly impacted by Iran’s behavior. These consultations should focus on how to stop Iran equipping itself with an alarming quantity and quality of enriched uranium and developing additional dangerous nuclear capabilities, as well as on how to block Iran’s destabilizing activities across the Middle East.

The EU should also take a firm stand against Iran’s involvement in terror and crime in Europe, and its severe human rights violations. ELNET strongly believes that only by setting limits to Iran’s behavior can it be co-opted into an internationally acceptable framework that guarantees stability.