Europe’s Latest Move Complicates JCPOA Row
EghtesadOnline: France, Germany and Britain have added fuel to the fire of the nuclear row by triggering the dispute resolution mechanism over Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, an Iranian expert on international relations said.
Hassan Beheshtipour also told ISNA in a recent talk that the nuclear measure taken by the three European signatories in response to Iran’s gradual reduction of commitments under the nuclear accord only serves to "further complicate the situation instead of helping resolve it".
Following the US withdrawal from the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and Europe’s failure to uphold their end of the deal, Iran began to scale back JCPOA compliance in five reversible phases, Financial Tribune reported.
Iran’s latest step to scrap limits on the number of centrifuges used for uranium enrichment prompted the European parties to trigger a mechanism that could culminate in a so-called “snapback” of global sanctions.
Beheshtipour said European powers should be pressuring the US, instead of Iran, since the Americans were the ones who caused these issues by leaving the deal.
The expert cautioned that the course of action taken by Europe could aggravate rising tensions in the region.
He noted that "unlike US penalties, UN sanctions mean that Tehran will have to stop trade with Russia, China and Turkey”, the few countries that have engaged in substantial financial transactions with Iran after the US reimposed sweeping sanctions against Iran.
The analyst warned that Europe’s decision could also sway Iran toward “radical measures” and that they have “embarked on an adventure” by activating the dispute resolution mechanism.
At present, the international agreement’s fate awaits a decision made by the JCPOA Joint Commission, whose members are Iran, France, China, Russia, Britain, Germany and the European Union.
Under the deal’s provisions, the commission is to rectify the problem within 15 days or extend the time period by consensus. If the issue remains unresolved, the case could be referred to the foreign ministers of the member states.
The long-feared step taken by Europe could lead to a chain reaction. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson endorsed a "Trump deal" after the mechanism was triggered, contradicting the E3's statement that said their main objective is to preserve the accord.
Beheshtipour is in agreement with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s official response, who considers the move "legally baseless” and “a strategic mistake”.
On possible countermeasures that Tehran can adopt in response to the European move, the expert said Iran still allows inspections by the UN nuclear watchdog and warned, "Iran could decide to cease cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, or end its adherence to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” which can embroil both Iran and the European Union in a zero-sum game.
Beheshtipour concluded that Iran’s five-step reduction of JCPOA commitments was only a reaction to European inaction and that Tehran is eager to restore its cooperation with IAEA and restart talks on other issues, if Europe fulfills obligations or the US lifts its sanctions.