EU powers trigger Iran nuclear deal dispute mechanism

BERLIN (AA): Major European powers announced Tuesday that they would activate the dispute mechanism of the Iran nuclear deal due to Tehran’s continuous violations of the accord.

In a joint statement, the U.K., Germany, and France sharply criticized Iran for further reducing its compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), despite repeated calls by the Europeans.

“We have therefore been left with no choice, given Iran’s actions, but to register today our concerns that Iran is not meeting its commitments under the JCPoA and to refer this matter to the Joint Commission under the Dispute Resolution Mechanism, as set out in paragraph 36 of the JCPoA,” they said.

The three EU parties had long been reluctant to trigger the formal dispute mechanism, fearing that this might lead to a complete collapse of the historic accord.

Iran started to cut its commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal last May in retaliation for the unilateral U.S. withdrawal from the agreement between Tehran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany and the EU.

On Jan. 5, Iran announced that it was fully withdrawing from the deal in the wake of the U.S. killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.

Despite Tuesday’s move, European powers reaffirmed their willingness to preserve the agreement.

“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,” they said in the joint statement.

The three European powers were also quick to distinguish their stance from U.S. President Donald Trump’s policy of “maximum pressure” on Tehran.

“Our three countries are not joining a campaign to implement maximum pressure against Iran. Our hope is to bring Iran back into full compliance with its commitments under the JCPoA,” they said.