Iran called on the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog to avoid publicizing “unnecessary” nuclear program information on Sunday after the agency’s report last week said the country was taking steps to produce uranium metal.
Iranian state TV reported the message to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), citing a statement from Iran’s nuclear department that said publishing that information could lead to misunderstandings.
“It is expected the international atomic energy agency avoid providing unnecessary details and prevent paving ground for misunderstanding” in the international community, the statement said, according to The Associated Press.
Iran’s statement followed the IAEA’s report released last Thursday that declared the country was developing equipment to produce uranium metal in the next few months, in violation of the 2015 nuclear agreement with several countries.
The IAEA said Iran indicated its effort to obtain the key component in the nuclear warhead was “to design an improved type of fuel” and denied that it was related to nuclear weapon development.
On Saturday, Germany, France and Britain – all members of the nuclear agreement – urged Iran not to move forward with developing uranium metal, saying it was “the latest planned violation” of the agreement.
“Iran has no credible civilian use for uranium metal,” the countries said in a joint statement, according to the AP. “The production of uranium metal has potentially grave military implications.”
Iranian officials released a statement in response, saying it had told the UN nuclear watchdog about its intentions for the “peaceful and conventional” production of uranium metal almost 20 years ago.
Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blasted the European countries in a tweet, saying Iran, not the European countries, is the only reason the nuclear agreement still is in place after the Trump administration withdrew the U.S. in 2018.
The U.S. instituted sanctions against Iran following the withdrawal, prompting the country to publicly violate the agreements’ nuclear rules, although it remains a part of the deal.
President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Did President Biden institute a vaccine mandate for only half the nation's teachers? Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE, who will be inaugurated on Wednesday, has said he hopes to return to the nuclear deal, although Iran’s recent moves may complicate those plans.