The European Union’s chief diplomat said the Iran nuclear deal is not just limited to the country’s nuclear obligations, and other parties to the landmark agreement have also economic commitments to the Islamic Republic.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told the Munich Security Conference on Sunday Iranians had asked the bloc, France, Germany, and Britain to abide by their commitments under the 2015 after the US pulled out of in May 2018 and reimposed tough sanctions on Iran, Euronews reported.
He said Iran had stuck to its own side of the bargain for at least 14 months in the wake of the US exit from the deal.
The top diplomat said Iran is no longer committed to its nuclear commitments and the Europeans must accept that they have not been successful in fulfilling their obligations.
Iran signed the nuclear agreement with six world powers— namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia, and China — in 2015. The deal was also ratified in the form of a UN Security Council resolution.
Tehran remained fully compliant with the nuclear agreement, known as the JCPOA, for an entire year after the US withdrawal, waiting for the European signatories to the deal to fulfill their end of the bargain by offsetting the impacts of American bans on the Iranian economy.
Since May 2019, Iran has progressively scaled back commitments in compliance with articles 26 and 36 of the agreement in response to the US sanctions and Europe's inability to circumvent them.
Iran says it is now producing uranium enriched beyond the 3.67 percent set by the agreement, and no longer adheres to the limit of 300 kilograms imposed on its enriched uranium stocks. It has also resumed research and development that was restricted under the deal.
In his Sunday’s speech, Borrell took a swipe at the US for its “unilateral” pullout and said it is not his job to convince the Americans to return to the deal but he tries to preserve the JCPOA through a financial mechanism that eases non-dollar trade with Iran.
Borrell admitted that his efforts have so far failed to bear fruit.
On Friday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed Iran's readiness to reverse its retaliatory measures if Europe provides “meaningful” economic benefits to the country.
“We have said that we are prepared to slow down or reverse these measures commensurate with what Europe does,” he told reporters at the 56th Munich Security Conference.
“We will decide whether what Europe does is sufficient to slow down or to reverse some steps — we have not even ruled out reversing some of the steps that we have taken," Zarif added.
Europe set up a special trading mechanism called INSTEX to enable legitimate humanitarian trade with Iran after Washington’s unilateral withdrawal.
However, despite repeated promises by the EU to make the mechanism operational, it has yet to complete any transactions.