EghtesadOnline: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif censured the European signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal for failing to fulfill their pledges after they claimed in a joint statement on Monday that they have fully upheld their commitments.
“To my EU/E3 Colleagues: ‘Fully upheld commitments under JCPOA’ YOU? Really? Just show ONE that you’ve upheld in the last 18 months,” he wrote on his Twitter account, addressing the European Union and the three European parties to the deal, namely France, Britain and Germany.
Europe has been trying to save the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, after the United States unilaterally left it 18 months ago and imposed maximum pressure on Tehran.
It vowed to protect Iran's economy against the US sanctions but none of its initiatives has so far produced a satisfactory result, Financial Tribune reported.
Iran began reciprocal measures in May, gradually scaling back its commitments to the accord that was no longer beneficial for the country.
In the fourth phase of the plan that was implemented last week, Iran began enriching uranium at the Fordow nuclear facility, a site where enrichment was banned until 2030 under JCPOA and only some centrifuges for research purposes were allowed.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, which is monitoring the deal, confirmed the move in its quarterly report on Monday.
"Since 9 November 2019, Iran has been conducting uranium enrichment at the plant," the report read, according to Reuters.
The foreign ministers of France, Germany, United Kingdom and the EU high representative issued a joint statement immediately, expressing extreme concern by Iran's latest move.
"Iran's action is inconsistent with the JCPOA's clear provisions on Fordow and has potentially severe proliferation implications. It represents a regrettable acceleration of Iran’s disengagement from commitments under the JCPOA," the statement read, as published by EEAS.
They urged Iran to reverse this and all previous measures, including exceeding the deal's limits on low enriched uranium stockpile, enrichment and R&D activities.
Iran has declared that all moves are reversible if its economic problems are addressed, which requires Europe to devise a mechanism with which Iran can export its oil and repatriate its revenues.
The European statement claimed that E3/EU have fully upheld their JCPOA commitments, including sanctions-lifting as foreseen under the JCPOA, urging Iran to uphold its JCPOA commitments and work with JCPOA participants to deescalate tensions.
Zarif had earlier said that after the US departure from the nuclear agreement, Europe undertook 11 commitments to safeguard Iran's JCPOA interests in areas, such as oil sale, insurance, aviation, shipping and industrial cooperation, but none has been fulfilled so far.
However, the European signatories to the deal have failed to install a mechanism that could bypass US banking stranglehold for repatriating Iran’s oil revenues, trembling at the thought of infringing US sanctions.
Dispute Resolution Mechanism
While confirming its determination to continue all efforts to preserve the agreement, Europe affirmed in the statement its "readiness to consider all mechanisms in the JCPOA, including the dispute resolution mechanism" to resolve the issues related to Iran's non-compliance.
"We are in contact with the other JCPOA participants in this regard," they said.
Any of the signatories can trigger a dispute resolution process that could culminate at the United Nations Security Council with a so-called "snapback" of global, UN sanctions on Iran.
"Iran triggered-& exhausted-dispute resolution mechanism while you were procrastinating. We're now using para36 remedies," Zarif also said in his tweet, attaching the letter he had sent to the EU on Nov. 6, 2018, which explained that Iran's moves are based on the provisions in paragraph 36 of JCPOA.
EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said on Monday that she was contacting the signatories to decide what to do next.
EU foreign ministers did not discuss sanctions in their Monday meeting but it is becoming “more and more difficult” to save the accord, she said.
“We might have a Joint Commission meeting in the coming days,” Mogherini said, referring to the forum where the signatories can discuss problems and potentially set the ground for exploring sanctions.
A senior EU diplomat said the Joint Commission meeting in Vienna, Austria, could be next week at the level of political directors.