German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday called for resolving differences over the Iranian nuclear efforts and expressed his concern about the “real danger” posed by Tehran’s program.
Speaking alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after talks in Berlin, Scholz said Germany and other countries are working to prevent Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons. “Israel should not be threatened,” he affirmed.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu wrote on his Twitter account that Israel will do what it needs to do to defend itself against those who want to annihilate the Jewish state.
“Israel will also act against Iran’s aggression and terrorism. Those who perpetrate terror attacks against Israel and those who send them will pay a heavy price,” he said.
On March 7, France, Germany and the UK (E3) gave a joint statement to the IAEA Board of Governors on Iran’s implementation of its nuclear commitments under the JCPoA.
The E3 said they are especially alarmed by the recent sampling at Fordow, which showed the presence of highly enriched uranium (HEU) particles to 83.7%.
“This is significantly inconsistent with the level of enrichment declared by Iran and Iran has yet to convince us that this was due to its claimed ‘unintended fluctuations,” the statement said.
Earlier this month, IAEA said Iran has given sweeping assurances to the UN nuclear watchdog that it will finally assist a long-stalled investigation into uranium particles found at undeclared sites and even re-install removed monitoring equipment.
IAEA is asking Iran for more inspections and the reactivation of surveillance cameras and monitoring equipment at some of the country’s nuclear sites. Also, Iran should offer the UN nuclear watchdog convincing explanations on the origin of uranium particles enriched to 83.7% purity – very close to weapons grade – at Iran’s underground Fordow.
Meanwhile in Tehran, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said Thursday that Deputy Director General and Head of the Safeguards Department of the UN nuclear watchdog (IAEA) is on his way to Tehran for talks with Iranian officials.
Spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Behrouz Kamalvandi, said that Massimo Aparo will pursue the negotiations recently held by experts of the IAEA and those of the AEOI during Grossi’s recent visit to Iran this month.
Kamalvandi noted that the safeguards and technical discussions will be in line with the joint statement of the IAEA and the AEOI that was issued during the visit.
Meanwhile, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell called on Iran, in a phone call with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, to speed up the implementation of the agreement between Tehran and the IAEA, according to Iranian websites.
The call came a few hours after Grossi said he’s sending a technical team to Iran in the next few days to follow up on Tehran’s commitments.
“We still need to start the process of getting these additional, further monitoring and verification capacities,” Grossi said, explaining that the process could take “maybe weeks or days.”
“I hope there won’t be any trouble,” the IAEA chief added, according to WSJ reporter Laurence Norman.
Also, US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley said he met with Grossi and discussed the IAEA chief’s recent meetings in Tehran this month.
“We stressed that Iran should follow through on its commitments made to IAEA and should facilitate any access deemed necessary by the agency,” Malley wrote on his Twitter account.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, said, “somebody needs to engage the US on finalization of the Vienna talks on restoration of the nuclear deal in order to avoid the high risk of uncontrolled escalation.”