Statement by the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs
France utterly condemns the beginning of uranium enrichment operations at the Qom/Fordow facility. It represents an additional, particularly egregious breach of international law by Iran, as well as a violation of six Security Council resolutions and 11 resolutions adopted by the IAEA Board of Governors.
Yet a very clear IAEA Board of Governors resolution, passed by an overwhelming majority, had called on Iran on November 18 to engage, at last, in a constructive dialogue with the Agency on the continuation of its sensitive activities. Tehran chose to ignore this warning by the international community.
Let me remind you that the Qom enrichment facility was concealed from the international community for several years, until fall 2009; that a previous IAEA Board of Governors resolution had condemned it in November 2009; that the alleged purpose of this facility has varied over time, although there has never seemed to be the slightest economic rationale for civilian use; that the claim of using uranium enriched to 20 percent to operate the Tehran Research Reactor lacks all credibility, given Iran’s continued refusal to consider our offers to provide it with such fuel; and finally, and most importantly, that Iran’s increased capacity to produce uranium enriched to more than 3.5 percent brings it considerably closer to the purity required for weapons-grade material.
Iran must cooperate with the international community and abide by its international obligations without preconditions or delays. It must engage in dialogue by responding swiftly and unambiguously to Ms. Ashton’s letter of October 21.
At the same time, this new provocation leaves us no other choice but to strengthen international sanctions and, together with our European partners and all willing countries, to adopt measures of unprecedented scale and severity.
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