16:32 GMT05 March 2021
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    EU nations previously launched the INSTEX mechanism, meant to bypass unilateral sanctions, re-imposed by the US on Tehran back in 2018. At the same time, the Islamic Republic stressed this was insufficient to save the 2015 deal, urging the signatories to oppose the US stance on the issue.

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has stated that Washington should compensate for its withdrawal from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and urged European countries trying to salvage the deal to oppose US pressure.

    "We have no problem with talks with the US, but only if Washington fulfills its obligations under the nuclear deal, apologises, and compensates Tehran for its withdrawal from the 2015 deal", Rouhani said in a televised speech.

    Last Friday, the IAEA Board of Governors, backed by the EU big three (E3), passed a resolution calling on Iran to provide access to two sites that the agency wants to visit, due to alleged unregistered activities there.

    The crisis around Iran's nuclear programme resumed in 2018 after US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA, agreed by Iran, the UK, France, Germany, Russia, China, and the EU in 2015. The JCPOA was set to limit Iran's stockpile of medium-enriched uranium and reduce its number of gas centrifuges in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

    Following its withdrawal from the deal, the Trump administration moved to re-impose economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic, prompting Tehran to call upon other signatories to stick to the agreement and safeguard the Iranian economy from a US blockade. Tehran said that otherwise it would start gradually suspending its obligations under the deal every 60 days. This promise was effectively fulfilled in the summer of 2019.

    In January 2020, the leaders of France, UK, and Germany launched an Iran nuclear deal dispute mechanism in a bid to bring Tehran back to compliance with the JCPOA. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said at the time that the three countries "sold out" the remnants of the nuclear deal to "avoid" tariffs from the Trump administration.

    The new resolution by the IAEA demanding Iran that provide access to its nuclear facilities has recently been slammed by Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi as an "irresponsible step", "devoid of anything constructive".

    Iran is currently in the "fifth and final" stage of abandoning its JCPOA obligations, removing restrictions placed on the number of its centrifuges, re-opening previously closed nuclear facilities, and stockpiling enriched uranium.

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