Iran says it could take a “final and more effective” step concerning its nuclear deal with world states if the other parties remain in default of their contractual obligations towards Tehran.
“If this trend continues, Iran will take this effective step,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said at a press conference on Monday.
Since May, Iran has been gradually reducing its commitments to the 2015 agreement, which is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The countermeasures came in response to the United States’ withdrawal from the deal last year, its resumption of draconian anti-Iranian sanctions, and refusal by Washington-aligned deal partners — the UK, France, and Germany — to guarantee Iran’s business interests under the JCPOA after the sanctions returned.
As part of the retaliatory steps, Iran stopped recognizing the limits set by the deal on the level of its enrichment activities and the volume of its heavy water reservoir.
On January 5, however, the country said it would no longer observe any operational limitations on its nuclear industry, whether concerning the capacity and level of uranium enrichment, the volume of stockpiled uranium or research and development. The abrupt decision came two days after a set of US drone strikes assassinated senior Iranian commander and the most revered anti-terror military figure in the Middle East, Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.
Mousavi said so far the countermeasures that have been taken by the Islamic Republic have been meant “to strike a balance” between the quality of Iran’s commitment to the JCPOA and the way others honor the accord.
Amid their continued violation of the JCPOA, the European trio even decided to formally trigger a dispute settlement mechanism featured in the deal that saw them accusing Iran of flouting the agreement.
‘Ball in Europe’s court’
Tehran has unequivocally specified that its retaliatory steps fit within the JCPOA’s Paragraph 36, and are reversible if the other parties begin minding their obligations.
Mousavi said Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has reminded European officials, especially the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrel, of Europe’s role in preserving the JCPOA.
He regretted that Europe’s “lack of determination and independence [from the US]” have so far frustrated the initiatives, which have been offered to save the deal.
“If there is one party, who needs to be decisive, it is them, who should take a decision to be independent or listen to a bully like the US,” the spokesperson noted.
Mousavi also addressed Tuesday remarks by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who said he would be willing to work on a “Trump deal” to replace the JCPOA.
“Johnson’s remarks, which thrilled US President Donald Trump, are beneath our notice,” he said.
Mousavi said, though, that despite the “betrayal” perpetrated by some European states, “the door to negotiation with them has not been closed yet,” adding, “The ball is in their court.”