Europe threat­ens Iran with sanc­tions

UK, France, Ger­many re­buke Tehran over nu­clear vi­o­la­tions

Gulf News - - Front Page -

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.”

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