Skip to main content

European powers blast Iran's uranium metal production

France, Germany and the United Kingdom condemn Iran's move as one that would undermine the nuclear agreement.

France, Germany and the United Kingdom are calling on Iran to roll back its newly announced production of uranium metal, in what the European powers warned could complicate diplomacy as the Biden administration seeks to renter the landmark nuclear deal. 

The United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said this week that Iran has produced a uranium metal, a material that can be used to form nuclear weapons. A confidential IAEA report obtained by The Wall Street Journal said Iran had started producing the metal at its nuclear plant in Isfahan on Feb. 6. 

The trio of European countries, which were among the signatories to the 2015 nuclear accord known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), cautioned Iran against taking any further steps on its nuclear program.

“In escalating its noncompliance, Iran is undermining the opportunity for renewed diplomacy to fully realize the objectives of the JCPOA,” the European powers, known as the E3, said in a statement. “We reiterate that Iran has no credible civilian justification for these activities, which are a key step in the development of a nuclear weapon."

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif fired back on Twitter, saying, “By what logic is the onus on IRAN to stop its remedial measures undertaken a full year after the US withdrew from—and continues to violate—the JCPOA?” 

Tehran’s reported uranium metal production is the latest breach of the landmark nuclear deal negotiated between Iran and world powers, which in 2015 set curbs to the country's nuclear activities in exchange for the easing of sanctions. Since former President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and reimposed harsh economic sanctions, Iran has steadily violated its terms of the deal.

Last month, Iran said scientists at its Fordow nuclear plant were enriching uranium at 20% purity, far beyond the JCPOA’s 3.67% limit. 

If Iran returns to full compliance under the agreement, President Joe Biden has said the United States will rejoin as a starting point for follow-on negotiations aimed at crafting a stronger deal. The two sides are at an impasse, with Washington saying it won’t ease sanctions until Iran returns to full compliance. 

Iran’s leaders, who insist their nuclear program exists for peaceful purposes only, say they won’t roll back their nuclear activity unless the United States lifts sanctions first.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

Text Alerts - Be the first to get breaking news, exclusives, and PRO content.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial