Iran has started the production of uranium metal, a primary component that can make up the core of an atomic weapon, according to a report from the United Nations (UN)’s Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This development has resulted in calls for restraint from global actors including France and Russia.
According to the IAEA, it had verified on Wednesday the production of 3.6 grams of uranium metal at a plant in Iran.
This is the latest breach in Iran’s nuclear deal with major world powers. The 2015 deal placed a limit on the amount of nuclear material Iran could produce at a time. Iran first breached the deal in 2019 in retaliation to the United States withdrawing from the deal, with then-President Donald Trump reimposing sanctions on Iran.
The latest development comes in the backdrop of Iran urging the Joe Biden administration to prevent the agreement from collapsing.
Russia expressed sympathies with the rationale behind Tehran’s step, while calling for restraint.
“We understand the logic of their actions and the reasons prompting Iran. Despite this, it is necessary to show restraint and a responsible approach,” the deputy foreign minister of Iran ally Russia, Sergei Ryabkov, told state news agency RIA Novosti.
The French foreign ministry called for a need to show restraint “preserve the political space for a negotiated solution.”
“In this context we call on Iran to not take any new measure that would further aggravate the situation on the nuclear front, which is already extremely concerning due to the accumulation of Iranian violations of the Vienna accord,” it said.
The 2015 nuclear agreement ensured that at least a year is taken to complete the production of the nuclear weapon, as opposed the two to three months it would take without restrictions. However, Iran maintains that it is not persuing nuclear armament and its uranium program is for peaceful purposed.