Nov 30, 2021 - World

Weapons-grade enrichment would "imperil" nuclear talks, diplomats warn Iran

The talks resume in Vienna. Photo: EU Vienna delegation handout via Getty

Senior diplomats from France, Germany and the U.K. briefed reporters Tuesday on the sidelines of the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, saying that if Iran starts enriching uranium to 90% purity, the level needed to produce nuclear weapons, it would "seriously imperil" the negotiations.

Why it matters: Israel has shared intelligence with the U.S. and several European allies suggesting that Iran is taking technical steps to prepare to enrich weapons-grade uranium, as Axios first reported on Monday.

What they are saying: “You cannot enrich to weapons-grade level and say that you are seeking a return to an agreement whose goal is to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program," one of the European diplomats told reporters.

Driving the news: The second day of the nuclear talks in Vienna focused on the sanctions relief sought by Iran. The Iranian negotiations team held separate meetings with the different delegations and indirect talks with the U.S. team, through EU mediators.

What’s next: The European diplomats said they are still waiting for a clear statement from the Iranian team that it is ready to pick up the negotiations where the previous Iranian regime left them in June, rather than renegotiating everything.

  • The diplomats said they don’t want to put forward artificial deadlines but stressed that if Iran doesn’t show it is seriously negotiating by the end of this week, “it will be a problem."
Go deeper