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Iran FM challenges European claim of upholding nuclear deal commitments

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (Photo by AFP)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has challenged a claim by the European signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal that they are upholding their end of the bargain, saying the trio have, in fact, fulfilled none of their contractual commitments.

In a post on his Twitter account on Tuesday, Zarif reacted to a joint statement issued earlier by the top diplomats of France, Germany and the UK as well as EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) amid Iran’s suspension of parts of its commitments under the accord.

In their statement, the E3/EU claimed that they have “fully upheld their JCPOA commitments, including sanctions-lifting,” expressing concerns about Iran’s latest resumption of uranium enrichment activities at the Fordow facility.

Highlighting that part of the statement, Zarif heaped scorn at the Europeans, saying, “YOU? Really? Just show ONE that you’ve upheld in the last 18 months.”

The E3/EU had also said they would “consider all mechanisms in the deal JCPOA, including the dispute resolution mechanism, to resolve the issues related to Iran’s implementation of its JCPOA commitment.”

Zarif, in response, emphasized that Iran had already “triggered” and “exhausted” the mechanism while the European parties to the JCPOA were “procrastinating.”

The minister also noted that Iran is actually using the solutions provided in Paragraph 36 of the agreement in reciprocation for Washington’s pullout in May 2018 and Europe’s failure to hold up its end of the bargain.

Zarif also posted Iran’s Foreign Ministry letter to the Europeans dating back to November 6, 2018 which outlined “Iran’s right to react and protect its national interests.”

The JCPOA was signed between Iran and six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China — in 2015.

Washington’s exit in May 2018, however, threw the future of the historic deal into limbo.

Tehran remained fully compliant with the JCPOA for an entire year as confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in several reports, waiting for the co-signatories to fulfill their obligations by offsetting the impacts of Washington’s bans on the Iranian economy.

As the European parties failed to do so, Tehran moved in May 2019 to suspend its JCPOA commitments in 60-day stages under Articles 26 and 36 of the deal covering Tehran’s legal rights. 

Last week, Iran began injecting gas into centrifuges at the Fordow plant as part of its fourth step away from the JCPOA under the supervision of the IAEA.

The E3/EU claimed that Iran’s action is “inconsistent” with the deal’s provisions on Fordow and “has potentially severe proliferation implications.  It represents a regrettable acceleration of Iran’s disengagement from commitments under the JCPOA.”

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