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France, Germany & UK blame Iran for violating nuclear deal ‘key restrictions’, trigger mechanism to investigate ‘non-commitment’

France, Germany & UK blame Iran for violating nuclear deal ‘key restrictions’, trigger mechanism to investigate ‘non-commitment’
The European trio triggered the investigation into Tehran's alleged breaching of the 2015 nuclear deal after Iran lifted limits on enrichment capacity over increased tensions with the US.

Iran rolled back its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) following the death of one of its most influential military leaders, Qassem Soleimani, in an American drone strike. Now, a fresh joint statement by Paris, Berlin and London insists it had “no legal grounds to cease implementing the provisions of the agreement.”

We have therefore been left with no choice, given Iran’s actions, but to register today our concerns that Iran is not meeting its commitments under the JCPoA and to refer this matter to the Joint Commission under the Dispute Resolution Mechanism.

Activating the mechanism – which is only possible if one or more signatories suspect a non-compliance with the deal – could eventually lead to the UN Security Council deciding whether to bring back sanctions against Iran.

Earlier in January, Iran announced that the level of uranium enrichment was to be determined by its own “technical needs.” However, both Tehran and the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that international inspectors are continuing their verification activities under the nuclear deal.

Also on rt.com Enrichment based on technical needs: Iran rolls back on 2015 nuclear deal

Following the decision, Iran’s UN envoy said in an interview that Tehran had meticulously followed the provisions of the plan even though it had received “almost nothing in return.” He added that the European parties to the JCPOA (from which Tehran expected to receive benefits) “didn’t act in accordance with the deal.”

Now, France, Germany and the UK made it clear that they “are not joining a campaign to implement maximum pressure against Iran,” disavowing potential suspicions of siding with Washington.

Our hope is to bring Iran back into full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA.

Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said this action isn’t about re-imposing sanctions. Its aim is “to resolve issues relating to the implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement,” he was quoted by Reuters.

Iran has previously warned against triggering the dispute resolution mechanism, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi insisting that by scaling back nuclear commitments Iran executed “its legal rights to react to America's illegal and unilateral exit of the deal.”

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The JCPOA, brokered by six major world powers, saw Iran concede to dramatically reduce uranium enrichment and allow international inspections in return for the lifting of sweeping economic sanctions.

It ended up in jeopardy in 2018, when US President Donald Trump withdrew from what he called the “worst deal ever” and reinstated crippling penalties targeting Iran’s oil industry, banking sector and international trade.

Throughout 2019, Tehran had been gradually activating new centrifuges and enriching uranium to levels banned under the framework, lamenting that European signatories failed to carry out their part of the pact. It was only after the killing of General Soleimani in early January that Tehran decided not to abide by any of those limitations.

Also on rt.com Iran ‘not interested’ in having nukes, will stick to JCPOA once given benefits in return – UN envoy

Tuesday’s statement by the European states also claimed that they did their utmost “to deescalate tensions and to bring Iran and the US to the negotiating table for a comprehensive negotiated solution.” That effort will be resumed “as soon as conditions allow.”

The trio – otherwise known as E3 – wasn’t particularly successful in addressing Iran’s concerns. A special system they designed last year to facilitate trade with Iran was limited to food and medical supplies, whereas European firms have been in no rush to do business with the Islamic Republic.

Iran’s foreign minister voiced skepticism over the appeal, writing on Twitter: “For 20 months, the E3 – following UK appeasement policy – has bowed to US diktat. That hasn't gotten it anywhere – and it never will.”

Although the 2015 deal now hangs in the balance, Tehran made reassurances earlier this month that it has no interest in obtaining nuclear weapons – a major concern that the milestone pact was designed to tackle. There is “no place for nuclear weapons in Iran’s defensive doctrine,” Iran’s ambassador to the UN stated. Tehran is a member of the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty which aims for gradual nuclear disarmament and sets standards for arms control, the diplomat added.

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