Europe threatens Iran with sanctions
UK, France, Germany rebuke Tehran over nuclear violations
Britain, France and Germany ratcheted up pressure on Iran yesterday 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 socalled “snapback” of United Nations sanctions.
The three countries, which signed the international agreement in 2015 along with the US, Russia and China, said in a letter to the EU foreign policy chief that they had no choice but to trigger the deal’s “dispute mechanism”, given Iran’s ongoing transgressions.
The three said they rejected Tehran’s argument that Iran was justified in violating the deal because the US 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,” they said.
Meanwhile, Iran said it had arrested people accused of a role in shooting down a Ukrainian airliner and had also detained 30 people involved in protests that have swept the nation for four days since the military belatedly admitted its error.
France, Britain and Germany formally triggered the dispute mechanism in Iran’s nuclear deal yesterday, the strongest step the Europeans have taken so far to enforce an agreement that requires Iran to curb its nuclear programme..
The European powers said they were acting to avoid a crisis over nuclear proliferation adding to an escalating confrontation in the Middle East.
In a statement, they said they still want the nuclear deal to succeed and were not joining a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran by the United States, which abandoned the deal in 2018 and has reimposed crippling economic sanctions.
Triggering the dispute mechanism amounts to formally accusing Iran of violating the terms of the agreement and could lead eventually to the reimposition of U.N. sanctions that were lifted under the deal.
“We do not accept the argument that Iran is entitled to reduce compliance with the JCPoA,” the three European countries said in a joint statement, using the formal name of the agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the way forward was to agree a new “Trump deal”. “If we’re going to get rid of it, let’s replace it and let’s replace it with the Trump deal,” President Trump is a great dealmaker, by his own account. Let’s work together to replace the JCPoA and get the Trump deal instead.”