EghtesadOnline: The three European parties to the 2015 nuclear deal on Tuesday referred Iran’s compliance issue to the agreement’s Joint Commission under the dispute resolution mechanism set out in paragraph 36 of the accord, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
"We do this in good faith with the overarching objective of preserving the JCPOA and in the sincere hope of finding a way forward to resolve the impasse through constructive diplomatic dialogue, while preserving the agreement and remaining within its framework," the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom said in a joint statement, published on the website of Germany’s Federal Foreign Office.
Iran has reduced its compliance to the deal in five steps in response to the United States' withdrawal and reimposition of sanctions and in view of the European parties' failure to fulfill their commitments and protect Iran's benefits promised by the agreement, Financial Tribune reported.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi downplayed the recent move, saying that Tehran had already launched the mechanism due to the other side's failure to meet its commitments.
"Nothing new has happened in terms of procedural or technical considerations," he added.
The three foreign ministers said they do not accept the argument that Iran is entitled to reduce compliance with the JCPOA.
"Contrary to its statements, Iran has never triggered the JCPOA Dispute Resolution Mechanism and has no legal grounds to cease implementing the provisions of the agreement."
Mousavi cautioned that if the Europeans continue to pursue the path of giving in to the US pressure and seek to "abuse" the mechanism, instead of fulfilling their obligations under the deal, they should prepare themselves to face "consequences".
The senior diplomat added, "The Islamic Republic is ready to positively respond to any good-faith effort to salvage this important international agreement and support any constructive initiative to this end."
No Joining US Pressure Campaign
The statement pointed out that Europe is "not joining a [US] campaign to implement maximum pressure against Iran".
The European powers asserted that they have fully upheld their JCPOA commitments and outlined their additional efforts toward keeping the deal alive.
"In addition to the lifting of all sanctions, required by our commitments under the agreement, we have worked tirelessly to support legitimate trade with Iran, including through the INSTEX special purpose vehicle," they said, referring to the mechanism called Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges that aims to facilitate trade with Iran, but has remained on paper and failed to come on stream.
They also highlighted France's initiative to bring Iran and the US to the negotiating table as an example of their diplomatic efforts to save the accord.
"The E3 remain fully committed to this diplomatic effort and intend to resume it as soon as conditions allow," they said.
Iran has refused to engage in direct talks with the US, saying any negotiation would take place only within the framework of JCPOA and once the sanctions are fully removed.
France, Germany and Britain said they were left with no choice but to trigger the mechanism because Iran refused to change course and instead chose to further reduce compliance.
Tehran has declared that all its measures are reversible, but will be undone once its economic woes are addressed.
Nevertheless, the European states claimed Iran's actions are "inconsistent with the provisions of the nuclear agreement and have increasingly severe and non-reversible proliferation implications".
Josep Borrell, the European Union foreign policy chief, said he has received the foreign ministers' letter and will oversee the dispute resolution mechanism process as coordinator of the Joint Commission.
"The Dispute Resolution Mechanism requires intensive efforts in good faith by all. As the coordinator, I expect all JCPOA participants to approach this process in that spirit," he said, EEAS reported.