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EghtesadOnline: A senior Iranian diplomat warned the European parties to the 2015 nuclear deal that time is running out and the path of diplomacy to resolve the nuclear standoff is narrowing every day.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi made the statement in a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Ryabkov, in Moscow on Thursday, ISNA reported.

The Iranian diplomat pointed to French President Emmanuel Macron’s initiatives to salvage the hard-earned accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and said Iran welcomes any effort aimed at contributing to the peaceful resolution of the issue. 

However, according to Financial Tribune, he stressed that “such initiatives are acceptable only if they are balanced and realistic, and serve Iran’s interests under JCPOA”.

Araqchi criticized the US one-sided policies and Europe’s failure to fulfill its commitments after Washington’s withdrawal from JCPOA, and said, “If Iran’s demands are not met, the Islamic Republic will continue to reduce its JCPOA commitments based on its right enshrined in the accord, and no one should doubt Iran’s resolve to do that.”

US President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear agreement in May 2018 and imposed the "toughest ever" sanctions against Iran despite widespread global criticism to strangle the Iranian economy by squeezing its oil trade.

In response to the US move, Tehran has so far scaled down its nuclear commitments three times in compliance with articles 26 and 36 of JCPOA, and has warned that it will take a fourth step soon if its demands are not met.

Tehran has made it clear that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as Europe works out practical ways to shield their mutual trade from US sanctions.



Getting Impassable 

In the talks with Ryabkov, Araqchi stressed that the path for diplomacy is still open.

“However, this path is getting narrower and more impassable every day, and the countries remaining in JCPOA should be aware that they have little time, if they are serious about upholding the deal,” he cautioned. 

The Russian diplomat censured Washington’s withdrawal from the multilateral agreement and described it as “a stark violation” of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorses the nuclear pact.

“Russia supports JCPOA as a great achievement of multilateralism and will keep in touch with other JCPOA parties to help save the deal,” Ryabkov noted.

European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said late last month that the remaining parties to the nuclear deal had expressed their commitment to preserving it, stressing, however, that there were increasing difficulties ahead.

"It is in the interests of all to remain committed to the deal, but it is becoming increasingly difficult," Mogherini told reporters after a meeting of JCPOA participants at the United Nations.


JCPOA Iran Abbas Araqchi diplomacy Araqchi Warn Narrowing Scope European parties nuclear deal nuclear standoff