Iran slams ‘racist’ dispute mechanism by European nations in nuclear deal

TEHRAN (AFP): Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday slammed the three European nations which activated a dispute mechanism for the 2015 nuclear agreement, calling the act “racist”.

In a televised speech in Tehran, Zarif criticised the “illusion” that “only the blue-eyed” could benefit from international law.

In the face of “repeated violations by the United States and Europe, Iran does not have the right to use Article 36 (of the deal) despite several written notifications to European officials,” Zarif said, without elaborating how Iran had been denied that right.

“We do not accept such racism,” he added.

Britain, France and Germany announced on January 14 that they had triggered the dispute mechanism provided under Article 36 of the nuclear agreement, but have said they remained committed to the deal.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the deal is formally known, had given Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

It has already been severely undermined by the United States’ 2018 withdrawal and reimposition of sanctions on key sectors of Iran’s economy.

Since May 2019, Iran has progressively scaled back some commitments under the JCPOA in response to the US sanctions and Europe’s inability to find a mechanism to circumvent them.

It has insisted these moves are reversible if its interests are realised.

The 2015 nuclear deal was struck in Vienna by Iran, the three European powers, the United States, China and Russia.

Its complaints mechanism allows parties to lodge complaints before a joint commission in the case of claimed violations.

If the issue is not resolved by the commission, it can then be referred to foreign ministers, an advisory board and eventually to the United Nations Security Council, which could reimpose sanctions.

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