Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Berlin - Raghida Bahnam

European Troika Pressures Iran to Explain the Highly-Enriched Uranium

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri-Kani during talks (File photo: Foreign Ministry)

European diplomats from Germany, France, and Britain, met last week in Oslo with the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri-Kani, sources in the German Foreign Ministry confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat.

They indicated the talks focused on asking Tehran to explain the origin of highly enriched uranium particles found by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at the fortified Fordow facility. They did not discuss the stalled talks to revive the nuclear agreement.

The sources said that the meeting dealt with several issues, namely the Iranian escalation in the nuclear file, adding that European diplomats "clearly" expressed their countries' concerns and positions to the Iranian side.

The sources said the meeting did not address the nuclear talks or the possibility of returning to it.

On Wednesday, Mehr news agency reported that Bagheri-Kani held talks on reviving the nuclear deal with diplomats from the European Troika, adding that the meeting was also attended by the Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service, Enrique Mora.

However, Asharq Al-Awsat sources said that the EU did not attend the meeting, which is managing the stalled nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Another Western diplomatic source confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Western countries are using all available channels to urge Iran to clarify the traces of highly-enriched uranium of up to 83.7 percent, close to the 90 percent that enables the production of a nuclear bomb.

Earlier in March, Iran promised the IAEA Secretary-General, Rafael Grossi, to cooperate with the Agency to clarify the issue.

Western countries did not present a draft resolution condemning Iran at the Board of Governors meeting at the beginning of the month, granting Tehran an opportunity to cooperate with the Agency.

Last week, the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, called on his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amirabdollahian, to ensure Tehran's cooperation with the Agency and the rapid implementation of the agreement.

In a press conference on Sunday, Amirabdollahian announced that cooperation between the IAEA and the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization could positively affect the nuclear talks.

Meanwhile, the Axios news website reported that Israel told the Biden administration and several European countries that Iran would enter dangerous territory that could trigger an Israeli military strike if it enriches uranium above 60 percent.

Israel has recently intensified its threats of military action against Tehran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons. Tehran denies it aims to develop atomic weapons.

The website, quoting Israeli officials, stated that the Israeli government continues to prepare for a possible military strike against Iran.

Two Israeli officials told the website that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant asked US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, during a recent visit to Israel, to expedite the delivery of four KC46 tankers that Israel bought from the US last year.

They added that Israel needs those tankers used for air refueling to prepare for a possible military strike in Iran.

On Tuesday, Israel's Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said he had discussed ways to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons with his British counterpart, James Cleverly.

Cohen tweeted that he talked extensively with Cleverly about the Iranian threat and ways to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

He indicated that the international community must unite against the Iranian threat, increase sanctions, and present a viable military threat.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.