International

Iran nuclear deal: EU launches dispute mechanism

Tension soars: A file photo of technicians at the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor’s secondary circuit in Iran.

Tension soars: A file photo of technicians at the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor’s secondary circuit in Iran.   | Photo Credit: AP

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Britain, France and Germany charge Tehran over ‘transgressions’ that could ultimately lead to reimposition of UN sanctions

Britain, France and Germany ratcheted up pressure on Iran on Tuesday to cease its violations of a landmark nuclear deal, stressing that they want to resolve differences through talks while starting the clock on a process that could result in a so-called “snapback” of United Nations sanctions.

The three countries, which signed the international agreement in 2015 along with the U.S., Russia and China, said in a letter to the European Union’s foreign policy chief that they had no choice but to trigger the deal’s “dispute mechanism,” given Iran’s ongoing transgressions.

Limited options

The three said they rejected Tehran’s argument that Iran was justified in violating the deal because the U.S. broke the agreement by pulling out unilaterally in 2018.

“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,” the countries said in a joint statement.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who coordinates the agreement, said the pressure on Iran from Europe does not mean sanctions will automatically be slapped on the Islamic Republic.

‘Maximum pressure’

The Europeans stressed that they want to “resolve the impasse through constructive diplomatic dialogue” and made no threat of sanctions in their statement. They also specifically distanced themselves from sanctions imposed by the U.S., which Washington has said is part of a “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran.

“Our three countries are not joining a campaign to implement maximum pressure against Iran,” they said. “Our hope is to bring Iran back into full compliance with its commitments.”

The 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, seeks to prevent Iran from producing a nuclear weapon — something Iran insists it does not want to do — by putting curbs on its atomic programme in exchange for economic incentives.

Under its dispute resolution mechanism, countries have 30 days to resolve their problem, though that can be extended. If it cannot be solved, the matter could be brought before the U.N. Security Council and could then result in the snapback of sanctions that had been lifted under the deal.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi dismissed the “completely passive action” of the three countries and said Iran would support any act of “goodwill and constructive effort” to save the deal.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 7:26:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/iran-nuclear-deal-eu-launches-dispute-mechanism/article30569438.ece

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