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The European Union rejects a 60-day deadline set by Tehran for the remaining signatories to a 2015 nuclear deal to address Iran’s legal rights and protect its interests against US sanctions, saying, however, that the bloc will stay committed to the agreement for now.
In a joint statement released on Thursday, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the UK expressed “great concern” about Iran’s recent suspension of some of its commitments under the accord — officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — in reciprocation for Washington’s withdrawal last year.
Iran announced on Wednesday that it would stop exporting excess uranium and heavy water, setting a 60-day deadline for the five remaining parties to the deal — France, Germany, the UK, China and Russia — to take practical measures towards ensuring Iran’s interests in the face of the American sanctions that were re-imposed on Iran after Washington’s exit.
The top European diplomats said, “We reject any ultimatums and we will assess Iran’s compliance on the basis of Iran’s performance regarding its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA and the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons). In this respect, we recall the key role of IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) monitoring and verification of the implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments.”
In the statement, the Europeans further expressed regret about the re-imposition of sanctions against Tehran and said they would stay fully committed to “the preservation and full implementation” of the JCPOA, which they described as “a key achievement of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture, which is in the security interest of all.”
The top diplomats further stressed their determination to pursue efforts to enable the continuation of legitimate trade with Iran, including through a non-dollar direct payment channel, known as INSTEX.
“We strongly urge Iran to continue to implement its commitments under the JCPOA in full as it has done until now and to refrain from any escalatory steps,” they said.
‘Iran seeks to bring deal back on track’
Tehran also said the measures it has adopted in response to Washington’s withdrawal do not violate the deal and are meant to restore the balance between its rights and commitments under Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA.
On Thursday, Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), emphasized that Article 26 of the JCPOA reserves Iran’s right to stop some of its commitments “totally and partially” if the opposite side fails to uphold its end of the bargain.
“Iran has taken the measure in response to America’s withdrawal from the JCPOA and the re-imposition of sanctions,” he said.
Kamalvandi also noted that Iran’s move is well-calculated, adding, “Certainly, our goal is to bring the JCPOA back on track and strengthen it.”