Iran accused of illegal missile tests and massing ‘near weapons-grade’ uranium

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Tehran’s 60% enrichment is a “near weapons-grade” level. Iran is also accused of developing and testing ballistic missiles in its wide-ranging violation of a 2015 nuclear agreement.

It was signed by the UK, US, Russia, China and France – and endorsed by the UN – to limit Iran to levels necessary for peaceful use of nuclear power.

In return, economic sanctions were lifted. But yesterday Britain, France and Germany told the UN Security Council in New York that Tehran’s powerful stockpile was unprecedented for a country supposedly without a nuclear weapons programme.

The trio were strongly supported by America, which pulled out of the 2015 agreement – known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – when Donald Trump was president in 2018.

Iran began breaking the terms a year later. The three European nations said in a statement to yesterday’s Security Council meeting: “There is no credible civilian justification for the state of Iran’s nuclear programme.

The current trajectory only brings Iran closer to weapons-related capabilities.”It continued: “Iran transferred ­hundreds of UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] to Russia, deliberately supporting Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

Deliveries took place in the knowledge that Russia uses them to target Ukrainian cities and critical infrastructure.”

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But the allegations were immediately dismissed by Iran and its ally Russia. Amir Saeid Iravani, Tehran’s representative, said his nation was allowed to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

He also rejected the allegation that Vladimir Putin was using Iranian drones in Ukraine. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he still considered the JCPOA “the best available option to ensure that the Iranian nuclear programme remains exclusively peaceful”.

John Kelley, for the US, said: “The United States is committed to resolving the international community’s concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear programme. Unfortunately, Iran’s actions suggest this goal is not its priority.”

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