France, the United Kingdom and Germany announced on Tuesday their decision to launch the “conflict resolution mechanism” provided for in the Iranian nuclear agreement of 2015, a measure they justify on the basis of the Islamic Republic’s new transgressions.
The European signatories to the joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA) meeting under the acronym “E3”, do not advocate re-establishing sanctions, but on the contrary say they want to preserve the commitment made by Iran and six major powers in July 2015 in Vienna.
“Iran’s actions are not in accordance with the provisions of the nuclear agreement and have increasingly serious and irreversible proliferation implications,” French, German and British diplomats wrote in a joint statement.
The Iranian regime has said it will move further away from the agreement and no longer impose limits on uranium enrichment, an announcement made on January 5 following the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, who died in a U.S. attack in Baghdad.
Reacting to the European decision, the spokesperson of the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said the initiative was “totally passive”.
Since the US withdrawal, which undermined the joint comprehensive plan of action, Tehran has blamed the Europeans for not doing what was necessary to save this non-proliferation pact.
Russia, also a signatory to the agreement, considered that there was no justification for the creation of this mechanism, which, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, could make it impossible to implement the Vienna agreement.
On the contrary, Brian Hook, the Trump Administration’s Special Representative for Iran, supported the European initiative, inviting it to join the United States in its strategy of diplomatic isolation of Iran.
In Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, who believes that the Iranian nuclear program threatens the existence of the Jewish state, has called on Western powers to re-establish international sanctions against Iran.
“We know exactly what is happening with Iran’s nuclear program. Iran believes it can obtain nuclear weapons. I repeat: Israel will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons,” the Israeli Prime Minister added in a video message.
“THE MAIN OBJECTIVE IS TO PRESERVE THE AGREEMENT.”
The joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA) – the official name of the Vienna Accord – should provide a framework for Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.
But the US withdrawal, announced by Donald Trump in May 2018, was a major blow to this non-proliferation pact.
“We have no option but to express our concerns today and refer the matter to the Joint Commission under the dispute settlement mechanism,” the E3’s underscore.
“Our three countries are not joining the campaign to exert maximum pressure on Iran,” they add, however. “We are acting in good faith with the main objective of preserving the agreement and with the sincere hope of finding a way out of the impasse.
In the Strasbourg Parliament, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell also stressed the need, in his view, to save the (JCPOA) and not impose new sanctions on Tehran.
According to the JCPOA text (2015), all involved parties can turn to a committee composed of Iran, Russia, China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the European Union if they suspect that one of the signatories is violating its commitments.
The Commission then has 15 days to settle the dispute, which can be extended by consensus.
After a lengthy procedure, the file could be forwarded to the United Nations Security Council, which then has the possibility of triggering the “snapback”, an automatic return to the international sanctions regime that prevailed before the Vienna Agreement.