EghtesadOnline: The European Union’s top diplomat has engaged in talks with non-European parties to the 2015 nuclear deal as part of efforts to save the unraveling accord.
Josep Borrell also said on Twitter that he discussed the status of the agreement with the foreign ministers of Russia and China on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference held on Feb 14-16, according to Financial Tribune.
“As coordinator I remain committed to listen to all sides and keep the #NuclearDeal alive,” he tweeted.
The landmark nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, has been on the verge of collapse since the United States pulled out in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.
The remaining parties pledged to save it by ensuring economic benefits promised to Iran under JCPOA, but with the European countries’ inability to deliver on their promises, Iran was forced to step back and reduce its compliance.
The rollback plan was implemented in five phases with the primary goal of inducing Europe to take more serious action in support of Iran’s economic benefits.
France, Germany and Britain, in response, kept urging Iran to return to full compliance, without taking a practical step to accommodate its demands.
After the final step in early January, the three European countries referred the issue to the deal’s Joint Commission under the dispute resolution mechanism, opening the door to the restoration of global sanctions on Iran, which could spell the end of JCPOA.
They, however, extended the mechanism’s timelines indefinitely to allow time to reach an agreement.
As coordinator, the EU foreign policy chief has been pursuing a shuttle diplomacy to forge an agreement.
He traveled to Tehran in early February and held talks with top Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Borrell later wrote in an article that to save JCPOA, it is essential to ensure Iran benefits if it returns to compliance.
Iran’s foreign minister, who was meeting his French counterpart Jean Yves Le Drian on the sidelines of the Munich event, highlighted once again Europe’s unfulfilled commitments regarding the nuclear deal.
“The path the Europe has taken will not help resolve the issues and the only right way is Europe’s return to implementing its commitments under JCPOA,” Zarif said, ISNA reported.
He also told reporters on Friday during the conference that Iran would be willing to move back toward the deal, if Europe provides “meaningful” economic benefits.
Iranian officials have repeatedly declared that all nuclear measures are reversible if the country’s economic benefits are guaranteed.
“We have said that we are prepared to slow down or reverse these measures commensurate with what Europe does … We will decide whether what Europe does is sufficient to slow down or to reverse some steps … We have not even ruled out reversing some of the steps that we have taken,” he was quoted as saying by AFP.
Europe has set up a special trading mechanism called INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) to try to enable legitimate trade with Iran to offset the effects of US sanctions, but it has not completed any significant transaction.
“We’re not talking about charity. We’re talking about Iranian rights and the rights of the Iranian people to receive the economic benefits. We have incurred irreversible harm because of US sanctions, but nevertheless we will reverse the steps that we have taken, provided Europe takes steps that are meaningful,” Zarif said.