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Russia, France raise alarm as Iran moves further from nuclear deal

Reuters/Dubai
Filed on November 6, 2019 | Last updated on November 6, 2019 at 10.48 pm
Russia, France, raise, alarm, Iran, nuclear deal, Fordow nuclear plant

Speaking in China, French President Emmanuel Macron called Iran's latest move "grave".

Iran has stepped up activity at its underground Fordow nuclear plant, state TV said on Wednesday, a move France said showed for the first time that Tehran explicitly planned to quit a deal with world powers that curbed its disputed nuclear work.

In another development that could also aggravate tensions between Iran and the West, diplomats said Iran briefly held an inspector for the UN nuclear watchdog and seized her travel documents, with some describing this as harassment.

The incident involving an International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) inspector appeared to be the first of its kind since Tehran's landmark deal with major powers was struck in 2015, imposing restraints on its uranium enrichment programme in return for the lifting of international sanctions.

Iran's decision to inject uranium gas into centrifuges at Fordow, a move that further distances Iran from the accord, was described by Moscow as extremely alarming. Iran once hid Fordow from the IAEA until its exposure by Western spies in 2009.

Speaking in China, French President Emmanuel Macron called Iran's latest move "grave", saying it explicitly signalled Iran's intent for the first time to leave the deal.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said events unfolding around the nuclear deal were deeply disturbing and called on Iran to stick to the terms of the deal.


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