Iran’s efforts to produce enriched uranium metal have progressed, according to an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report released on Monday.

According to the report, which was issued to member states, Iran has produced 200g of uranium metal-enriched up to 20 percent, Reuters reported.

In response, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price called on Tehran to “cease its nuclear escalations and return to negotiations.”

“Iran has no credible need to produce uranium metal, which has direct relevance to nuclear weapons development,” said Price.

The production of uranium metal is a key step in the path to the development of nuclear weapons.

For its part, Iran insists that its work on uranium metal is part of an effort to develop a new type of reactor fuel, according to Reuters.

A confidential IAEA report first revealed Iran was working on uranium metal back in February. That was confirmed by another report, released in July.

The foreign ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom issued a joint statement on July 6 expressing “grave concern” over the second report, calling it “a serious violation” of Iran’s commitments under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal.

“We strongly urge Iran to halt all activities in violation of the JCPOA without delay and to return to the negotiations in Vienna with a view to bringing them to a swift conclusion. We have repeatedly stressed that time is on no one’s side. With its latest steps, Iran is threatening a successful outcome to the Vienna talks despite the progress achieved in six rounds of negotiations to date,” they said in a joint statement.


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