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EU, France Concerned By Iran's Latest Nuclear Steps

New IR-8 centrifuges Natanz nuclear power plant, in the city of Natanz, in Isfahan province , November 4, 2019

Iran's decision to take a new step to reduce commitments under the landmark 2015 nuclear deal or JCPOA is a concern, putting the accord at risk, the European Commission said on Tuesday.

"We are concerned by President (Hassan) Rouhani's announcement today to further reduce Iran's commitment under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action," a spokeswoman said, referring to the formal title of the deal.

Iran has taken several steps in the past two months that in effect violate the nuclear agreement.

"We urge Iran to reverse all activities that are inconsistent with its commitments under the JCPOA ... it is increasingly difficult to preserve the JCPOA."

In a speech broadcast live on state TV, Rouhani said Iran is injecting gas into 1,044 centrifuges at its Fordow plant. Under the terms of the deal the Islamic Republic is allowed to spin the centrifuges at Fordow without injecting gas, Rouhani said.

Iran had said on Monday it had launched a new batch of advanced centrifuges to accelerate uranium enrichment, further reducing compliance with the deal following the withdrawal of its arch-foe the United States.

France on Tuesday also urged Iran to reverse its decision, saying the move violated a 2015 deal aiming to defuse the atomic standoff with Tehran.

"The announcements by Iran... go against the Vienna agreement," the French foreign ministry said in a statement. "We urge Iran to go back on its decisions which contradict the accord," it added.

French President Emmanuel Macron has led efforts to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, severely damaged by the decision in May 2018 of US President Donald Trump to walk out of the accord.

Reporting by Reuters, AFP