Iran yet to show “significant noncompliance” with nuclear deal says EU foreign policy chief

By bne IntelliNews July 15, 2019

Iran is yet to show any “significant noncompliance” with the 2015 nuclear deal and the remaining signatories to the accord have “for the time being” not indicated any intention to trigger the accord’s dispute mechanism, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on July 15.

Mogherini spoke after an EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels. The 28 ministers in attendance said that recent Iranian breaches of the accord’s conditions—which Tehran has been stepping up incrementally to signal its displeasure at what it says is Europe’s failure to fulfil its nuclear deal commitments by not protecting Iranian trade in the face of US sanctions—such as surpassing uranium-enrichment thresholds did not necessarily condemn the whole agreement.

“We note that technically all the steps that have been taken—and that we regret have been taken—are reversible. So, we hope and we invite Iran to reverse the steps," Mogherini said.

The ministers also discussed potential ways to help lower tensions between Iran and the US and persuade Iran to stay committed to the nuclear deal despite the unilateral US pullout—which left Iran, the UK, France, Germany, China and Russia as the remaining participants in the deal but hard-pressed to persuade foreign traders and investors to stay committed to Iran given the unprecedented weight and scope of the sanctions brought in by the Trump administration after its May 2018 exit.

The nuclear deal was supposed to protect Iran from sanctions in return for compliance with measures aimed at barring any road Iran might take to developing a nuclear weapon. But Donald Trump says the accord is not tough or broad enough.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said there was still time to save the landmark deal, telling reporters that "Iran is still a good year away from developing a nuclear bomb. There is still some small but closing window to keep the deal alive."

Iran’s Foreign Ministry urged the European parties to the nuclear agreement "to take practical, effective and responsible decisions" to save it.

"We stress that the continued voluntary and goodwill based actions by the Islamic Republic of Iran are rooted in the principle of reciprocity of rights and duties" in the nuclear deal, it said in a statement.

Iran's atomic energy agency, meanwhile, warned it could take its nuclear programme back to its pre-2015 deal status. "If the Europeans and the Americans don't want to carry out their duties... we will decrease our commitments and... reverse the conditions to four years ago," agency spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi was quoted by IRNA state news agency as saying.

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