The United States condemns the Iranian Government’s decision to begin enrichment operations at its Qom facility, an act contrary to its obligations under multiple United Nations Security Council and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors resolutions. This step once again demonstrates the Iranian regime's blatant disregard for its responsibilities and that the country's growing isolation is self-inflicted.
The circumstances surrounding this latest action are especially troubling. Iran only declared the Qom facility to the IAEA after it was discovered by the international community following three years of covert construction. Iran has announced it intends to consolidate and increase its production of uranium enriched to a near 20 percent level at this facility. There is no plausible justification for this production. Such enrichment brings Iran a significant step closer to having the capability to produce weapons-grade highly enriched uranium.
Iran claims that this decision was necessary to produce fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR). This is false. The P5+1 has offered alternatives for providing fuel for the TRR despite Iran’s longstanding refusal to fulfill its international nuclear obligations. Iran has refused these offers.
We call upon Iran to immediately cease uranium enrichment and to comply with its international nuclear obligations. We also call on Iran to return to negotiations with the P5+1, prepared to engage seriously on its nuclear program, and urge Iran to reply to this effect to High Representative Ashton’s letter from October 2011. We reaffirm that our overall goal remains a comprehensive, negotiated solution that restores confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program while respecting Iran's right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy consistent with its obligations under the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).