EghtesadOnline: Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said Tehran has not closed the door to negotiations with European countries about issues surrounding the 2015 nuclear deal despite their recent activation of the agreement’s dispute resolution mechanism.
"The door to negotiation with them has not been closed and the ball is in these countries' court," Abbas Mousavi said at a regular press briefing in Tehran on Monday, IRNA reported.
The implementation of the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, has been a subject of dispute among its parties since the United States pulled out unilaterally in 2018 and restored sanctions on Tehran, and Iran responded by reducing its compliance, according to Financial Tribune.
The European parties, which were unable to meet their commitment on protecting Iran’s economic benefits against the US sanctions, referred the issue to the JCPOA Joint Commission under the dispute resolution mechanism last week after Iran took the fifth and final step away from its obligations.
The process may end up in the United Nations Security Council with the restoration of global sanctions on Iran, which could spell the end of the nuclear deal.
Mousavi stressed, however, that JCPOA can still survive if all parties adhere to their commitments.
"Iran has remained within the deal, but has adjusted its commitments with those of the other sides," he said, explaining that the purpose of the moves was to create a balance between its rights and obligations.
Iranian officials have declared repeatedly that all nuclear measures can be reversed once the country's economic concerns are addressed by the removal of sanctions or through mechanisms to bypass them.
Final Effective Step
The spokesman also said Europe's argument for triggering the mechanism is not acceptable because Iran had already activated it under Article 36 of JCPOA and scaled back its commitments when other parties remained reluctant.
The European parties have called for further negotiation with Iran over other issues, including the timeframe of nuclear restrictions and Iran's regional activities, which US President Donald Trump had demanded after exiting JCPOA.
Britain has said a "Trump deal" could replace the 2015 agreement and France has called for broad talks to end a crisis with the US.
Iran maintains that the previous agreement needs to be upheld first before any further talks could take place.
"I don't think Iran is ready to negotiate under the conditions that they have in mind. We suggest they stick to this agreement," Mousavi said.
He stressed that the fifth step was the last phase of reducing commitment to JCPOA, but more effective measures would be taken outside the framework of the deal if the current approach persists.
"Iran is devising final and more effective steps, and if this situation continues, Iran would take that effective step," he said.
Tehran's options include ceasing cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and withdrawing from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.