Monday, 27 Jan 2020 - 1 of Shevat, 5780

After Iran’s announcement that its nuclear program has ‘no restrictions’, the Europeans take action and trigger a mediation process

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In a joint statement, the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and Britain said they had ‘’no choice’’ but to take action after the escalation of the conflict between Iran and the U.S. in which Iran announced that it was discarding more key components of the nuclear deal, including a limit on centrifuges. The Iranian government issued a statement saying its nuclear program “no longer faces any operational restrictions.”

 

BRUSSELS— Britain, France and Germany have triggered a mediation process aimed at forcing Iran to return to compliance with limits placed on its nuclear program or facing the re-imposition of international sanctions.

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell announced Tuesday he received a letter from the  Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom ‘’referring a matter concerning the implementation of Iran’s commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, the 2015 nuclear agreement) to the Joint Commission for resolution through the Dispute Resolution Mechanism, as set out in paragraph 36 of the agreement.’’

The Europeans have tried to keep the nuclear agreement from collapsing since US President Donald Trump withdrew from it in 2018. Under the agreement, international sanctions against Iran were lifted in return for Tehran agreeing to curbs on its nuclear program. “We continue believing that this deal is a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture and critical for the regional stability,” said Borrell last Friday at an emergency meeting of EU Foreign Ministers on the US-Iran crisis following the killing of Iranian top commander Qassem Soleimani in a US air strike.

But Washington has reimposed economic sanctions against Tehran. Iran has responded by gradually exceeding many of the limitations it had signed up to in the deal.

In a joint statement, the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and Britain said they had ‘’no choice’’ but to take action after the escalation of the conflict between Iran and the U.S. in which Iran announced that it was discarding more key components of the nuclear deal, including a limit on centrifuges. The Iranian government issued a statement saying its nuclear program “no longer faces any operational restrictions.”

In his announcement, Borrell said: ‘’As Coordinator of the Joint Commission, I will oversee the Dispute Resolution Mechanism process. The aim of the Mechanism is to resolve issues relating to the implementation of the agreement within the framework of the Joint Commission. In this respect I note the Foreign Ministers’ intention “to preserve the JCPOA in the sincere hope of finding a way forward to resolve the impasse through constructive diplomatic dialogue”.

He added: ‘’The JCPOA is a significant achievement of sustained multilateral diplomacy following years of negotiations. In light of the ongoing dangerous escalations in the Middle East, the preservation of the JCPOA is now more important than ever.’’

According to Politico.Eu, by triggering the mechanism, the Europeans said they were still hoping to preserve the deal and persuade Iran to renew its participation.

But Borrell has warned that negotiating a new agreement with Iran would be a “very complex, highly technical process” that would take a long time.

The US sanctions on Iran are aimed at forcing ehran to negotiate a broader agreement than the 2015 nuclear deal, the US Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, told reporters last week.

“Iran can never acquire a nuclear weapon, it would be catastrophic for the Middle East,” he said. “Now that we are outside of the Iran nuclear deal, we are in a much better position to deny Iran a nuclear weapon.

“It allows us to then forcibly respond to Iran’s regional aggression and that is what we have done with our sanctions,” Hook added.

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin issued a short statement saying: “We know exactly what is happening with the Iranian nuclear program. Iran thinks it can achieve nuclear weapons. I reiterate: Israel will not allow Iran to achieve nuclear weapons. I also call on all Western countries to impose snapback sanctions at the UN now.”

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