0109 GMT December 12, 2019
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi and Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok discussed a range of issues, including the Iran nuclear deal, bilateral ties and recent international developments.
Iran has been protesting Europe’s inaction following the United States’ unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement and reinstating illegal sanctions against Iran, according to IRNA.
Since the US withdrawal, Iran has reduced its commitments to the deal. During the meeting which was held in The Hague, the Iranian official said that Tehran would continue scaling back its commitments to the deal until its interests are met.
Araqchi criticized Europe’s failure to live up to its commitments to the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Since May, Iran has been scaling down its commitments in retaliation for Washington’s 2018 withdrawal from the deal and the failure of three European signatories – the UK, France and Germany – to protect bilateral trade against American sanctions.
In the first three stages of its measured response, Iran enriched uranium beyond the 300kg limit set by the deal and ramped up enrichment to levels beyond the 3.67-percent cap. It also expanded nuclear research to areas banned in the agreement.
The fourth step was the injection of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas into centrifuges at the Fordo underground enrichment facility.
Tehran says its reciprocal measures do not violate the JCPOA and are based on Articles 26 and 36 of the agreement itself, which detail mechanisms to deal with non-compliance.
Iranian authorities have suggested that the measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the Iranian economy from the sanctions.
Iranian and Dutch officials also talked about political and economic relations between the two countries and the security of shipping in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea.
They also discussed the peace initiative, Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE), proposed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during this year’s United Nations General Assembly.
Araqchi emphasized that peace and security in the Persian Gulf should be maintained by regional countries themselves.
Referring to military coalitions formed by the United States in the region on the pretext of protecting oil tankers, the Iranian official stressed that there is no need for such coalitions in the Persian Gulf.
He said that such coalitions escalate tensions in the Persian Gulf region.
The Dutch official underlined that Amsterdam seeks de-escalation in the Middle East region.
Concerning the JCPOA, he emphasized the importance of preserving the deal and said that the Netherlands supports France’s initiative for finding a solution for the current crisis triggered by the US withdrawal from the deal.