European Foreign Ministers Call for 'Urgent' Meeting Over Iran Nuke Deal Breach

Signatories call on Tehran to 'reverse its nuclear activities,' while Netanyahu doubles down on threats, saying Israeli air force 'can reach anywhere in the Middle East'

Noa Landau
Noa Landau
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Iranian President Hassan Rohani during meeting in Tehran, Iran, June 25, 2019.
Iranian President Hassan Rohani during meeting in Tehran, Iran, June 25, 2019.Credit: \ HANDOUT/ REUTERS
Noa Landau
Noa Landau

European foreign ministers have expressed "deep concern" regarding Iran's enrichment of uranium above the maximum limit determined by the nuclear deal, and called for an urgent meeting to be convened.

In a joint statement released Tuesday by the foreign ministers of France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the high representative of the European Union on Iran and the nuclear deal, they expressed "deep concern that Iran is pursuing activities inconsistent with its commitments" under the nuclear deal.

>> Read more: Iran still has room to maneuver, but Trump is running out of diplomatic options | Analysis ■ The Iran crisis is exposing a far deeper conflict between Trump and Europe | Opinion

Haaretz Weekly Episode 33

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They stressed that the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that Iran is already enriching uranium above the maximum amount allowed by the deal. If Iran wants to keep to the nuclear agreement, they said, it must immediately return to full compliance with the deal and reverse its nuclear activities.

"These compliance issues must be addressed within the framework of the [nuclear deal], and a Joint Commission should be convened urgently," the statement reads. "We call on all parties to act responsibly towards deescalating ongoing tensions regarding Iran's nuclear activities."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also responded to Iran's declarations while touring the Israeli Air Force's F-35 squadron in Nevatim air force base on Tuesday.

"Recently, Iran has been threatening the destruction of Israel," he said. "It would do well to remember that these planes can reach anywhere in the Middle East, including Iran and certainly Syria."

During Monday's Christians United for Israel conference, Netanyahu and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence hailed U.S. President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal.  The deal was not only based on a lie, Netanyahu said, but "it’s a terrible deal because it gave Iran a path to getting a nuclear arsenal when the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear programs were removed. It didn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paved it."

Netanyahu said that "Israel is deeply grateful" that Trump withdrew from the deal and restored sanctions, because "this is vital for Israel’s security, for the security of the region, for the security of the United States, for the security of the world."

Pence took the opportunity to lay some of the blame on Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama. "The previous administration’s so-called deal didn’t prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," he said. "It just delayed it for a few years. In exchange, the deal gave away billions of dollars in cash and sanctions relief that Iran used to fund more terrorist attacks on innocent Westerners."

Following news that Iran breached the uranium enrichment limit Tuesday, Netanyahu told Haaretz that "The reason they don't have [a nuclear arsenal yet] is because we put pressure on them, against the whole world and the previous American administration as well, and against a lot of people in the Israeli government too," Netanyahu said.  "It poses a huge danger to our future and this has stopped them at this time."