23:01 GMT14 June 2021
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    On Tuesday, France, the UK and Germany moved to trigger the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal's dispute mechanism and called on Tehran to cancel any measures which may violate the deal's terms.

    Moscow is calling on the European parties to the Iran nuclear deal not to escalate tensions and to abandon their decision to trigger the treaty's Dispute Resolution Mechanism, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

    "We strongly urge the Eurotroika [of parties to the JCPOA] not to inflame tensions and to abandon any steps which call the prospects of the nuclear deal's future into question. Despite all the challenges it has faced, the JCPOA has not lost its relevance," the ministry said in a statement.

    The ministry noted that Moscow remains committed to the deal's "systematic" and "comprehensive" implementation, in accordance with the terms agreed upon in 2015 and as enshrined by UN Security Council Resolution 2231 on the Iran nuclear issue.

    All parties recognise that the difficulties the treaty has faced were not Iran's fault, but the result of the US's decision to unilaterally withdraw from its commitments to the JCPOA in May 2018, the ministry said.

    "Tehran's decision to suspend its voluntarily commitments under the JCPOA are reciprocal and, above all, a reaction to the gross violation of the agreement and Security Council Resolution 2231 by the United States. At the same time, Iran's nuclear programme remains under the constant control of the International Atomic Energy Agency, including verification of an unprecedented scale and depth. Iran is in full compliance of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, implements the Agreement with the IAEA and applies the Additional protocol. The transparency of Iran's nuclear activities is a key element of the entire nuclear deal," the Foreign Ministry emphasised.

    Ultimately, the Foreign Ministry suggested that despite their formal commitment to create reliable and efficient means to circumvent the obstacles to the treaty's fulfilment which have been put in place by Washington, the JCPOA's European signatories have shown that they are either not prepared or can't afford to do so.

    Heavy water nuclear facility near Arak, Iran
    © AP Photo / Hamid Foroutan
    Heavy water nuclear facility near Arak, Iran

    France, UK, Germany Trigger Dispute Resolution Mechanism

    Earlier Tuesday, France, the UK and Germany issued a joint statement indicating that they had been "left with no choice, given Iran's actions," but to refer Iran's alleged failure to meet its commitments under the JCPOA to the Joint Commission under the treaty's Dispute Resolution Mechanism.

    Under the mechanism, if the party accused of failing to live up to its commitments does not resolve the complaint against it, the party or parties that triggered the mechanism can cease their own commitments to the JCPOA, notify the UN Security Council, or both. The Security Council will then be given 30 days to approve a resolution to continue the lifting of sanctions. If it fails to do so, the sanctions which existed prior to the approval of Resolution 2231 will snap into place automatically.

    On Monday, the Iranian Foreign Minister accused France, the UK and Germany of "bowing to US diktat" on the nuclear deal, and reiterated that the European parties to the treaty could still save it, "but not by appeasing the bully and pressuring the complying party."

    Iran announced that it would be rolling back its commitments under the JCPOA last week, amid escalating tensions with Washington over the assassination of a senior Iranian military commander in Baghdad on January 3. Tehran noted that it would proceed to enrich uranium based on the technical requirements of its nuclear industry, but stressed that it would continue to cooperate with the IAEA. Iran's decision sparked concerns from the treaty's European signatories, and prompted US President Donald Trump to write an all-caps tweet stating that Iran would "NEVER" gain access to a nuclear weapon.

    Iran began gradually reducing its commitments under the JCPOA in May 2019, one year after the United States unilaterally pulled out of the treaty and slapped Tehran with tough energy and banking sanctions. Since that time, Iran and the JCPOA's European signatories attempted to negotiate tools with which Iran could be shielded from US sanctions, but these have proven insufficient.

    Iran's enrichment of its uranium stockpiles reached the level of 5 percent, above the 3.67 percent limit outlined by the JCPOA, in November 2019. This is still well below 'weapons grade' uranium, which has a U-235 concentration of 80 percent or above. Iranian leaders have also stated repeatedly that they have no intention of pursuing nuclear weapons. The country destroyed its chemical weapons stocks in 1997 and has urged the US and others to follow suit.

    The JCPOA was signed in 2015 by Iran, the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the European Union. The treaty provided Iran with sanctions relief in exchange for a commitment not to pursue nuclear weapons and to downgrade its uranium enrichment efforts.

     President Hassan Rouhani listens to explanations on new nuclear achievements at a ceremony to mark National Nuclear Day, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, April 9, 2018
    President Hassan Rouhani listens to explanations on new nuclear achievements at a ceremony to mark "National Nuclear Day," in Tehran, Iran, Monday, April 9, 2018
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