Russia: E3 were first to reduce commitments under US pressure
Iran warned Monday it will consider withdrawing from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if a dispute over its atomic program goes before the UN Security Council (UNSC).
Britain, France, and Germany launched a process last week charging Iran with failing to observe the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, a move that could eventually see the Security Council reimpose international sanctions on the country.
Iran has criticized the three EU member states for inaction over sanctions the United States reimposed on it after unilaterally withdrawing from the landmark accord in 2018.
The European move "has no legal basis" and if they take further measures, "Iran's withdrawal from the NPT will be considered," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.
The 2015 nuclear deal reached with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
A year after the US pullout, Iran began to roll back its commitments to the accord – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – in retaliation.
It has hit out at the three European nations that remain party to the JCPOA for failing to live up to their promises to ease the impact of US sanctions on its oil-based economy.
Iran's latest and final step in January entailed forgoing the limit on the number of machines used to make uranium more potent.
Iran has stressed the steps it has taken to roll back the nuclear deal can be reversed if its interests are realized.
"If the Europeans return to the commitments, Iran will also stop reducing its commitments, but if the Europeans continue as they have been... we have different options," said Zarif.
The foreign minister said Iran's President Hassan Rouhani had warned former EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini about such consequences in three letters sent in 2018.
"It was stated in the president's letter that if this issue is referred to the Security Council, Iran's withdrawal from the NPT will be discussed but before that we can consider other (options)," he said.
Russia and China have said they saw no grounds to trigger the mechanism and Iran has dismissed the step as a “strategic mistake.”
EU to blame
Russia's permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna rejected on Monday the justification by the Europeans to trigger the dispute mechanism.
“E-3 explain triggering Dispute Resolution Mechanism by reduction of Iranian commitments under #JCPOA. They forget that E-3 were the first to reduce their economic commitments under US pressure. It is high time for both sides to think about reciprocal steps to mitigate concerns,” Mikhail Ulyanov tweeted.
European officials have made it clear that the decision to trigger the dispute resolution mechanism was made in a bid to save the accord.
But Iran's Foreign Ministry on Monday warned more measures could be taken in retaliation for the European move.
"If these talks continue, Iran is formulating a final and even more effective" measure regarding the nuclear deal, spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi told a news conference in Tehran.
Asked by reporters to elaborate, Mousavi said it would be a "serious" measure, but he gave no further details.
"Different options are on the table for Iran that will be announced if a consensus is reached" by top officials, he said.
The countermeasures that have been taken by the Islamic Republic so far have been meant “to strike a balance” between the quality of Iran’s commitment to the JCPOA and the way others honor the accord, the spokesman noted.
Mousavi also addressed remarks by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who had 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,” the spokesman noted.
Mousavi said, though, that despite the “betrayal” perpetrated by the European states, “the door to negotiation with them has not been closed yet,” adding, “The ball is in their court.”
AFP and Press TV contributed to this story.