Iran says it still respects nuclear deal despite decreasing commitments to it
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Iran says it still respects nuclear deal despite decreasing commitments to it

Foreign Ministry in Tehran rejects ‘unfounded’ claim by UK, France, Germany that Tehran is violating the 2015 agreement

Technicians work at the Arak heavy water reactor's secondary circuit, as officials and media visit the site, near Arak, 150 miles (250 kilometers) southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran, December 23, 2019. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP)
Technicians work at the Arak heavy water reactor's secondary circuit, as officials and media visit the site, near Arak, 150 miles (250 kilometers) southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran, December 23, 2019. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP)

Iran insisted on Monday that although it has rolled back its commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal, prompting European scrutiny, it still remains party to the agreement.

“Tehran still remains in the deal … the European powers’ claims about Iran violating the deal are unfounded,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told a televised weekly news conference, Reuters reported.

“Whether Iran will further decrease its nuclear commitments will depend on other parties and whether Iran’s interests are secured under the deal,” he said.

Britain, France and Germany launched a process last week charging Iran with failing to observe the terms of the 2015 deal curtailing its nuclear program, while Tehran accuses the bloc of inaction over US sanctions.

In this May 28, 2019 photo, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi speaks at a press conference in Tehran, Iran (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

The EU three insisted they remained committed to the agreement, which has already been severely undermined by the US exit from it in 2018 and Washington’s reimposition of unilateral sanctions on key sectors of Iran’s economy.

Iran’s parliamentary speaker on Sunday warned of unspecified repercussions for the UN’s nuclear watchdog if the European nations act “unfairly.”

“What the three European countries did regarding Iran’s nuclear issue… is unfortunate,” parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

“We clearly announce that if Europe, for any reason, uses Article 37 of the nuclear agreement unfairly, then Iran will make a serious decision regarding cooperation with the agency,” he said, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Then-Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran, March 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Since May 2019, Iran has progressively scaled back some commitments under the agreement in response to the US sanctions and Europe’s inability to circumvent them.

It has stressed, however, that they can be reversed if Tehran’s interests are realized.

Iran’s latest and final step in January entailed forgoing the limit on the number of machines used to make uranium more potent.

The 2015 nuclear deal — known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — was struck in Vienna by Iran, the EU three, the United States, China and Russia.

It has a provision that allows a party to claim significant non-compliance by another party before a joint commission.

Articles 36 and 37 of the deal say if the issue is not resolved by the commission, it then goes to an advisory board and eventually to the UN Security Council, which could reimpose sanctions.

This photo released by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran on November 5, 2019, shows centrifuge machines at Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP)

The decision to begin the so-called dispute mechanism process comes as tensions soar between the West and Iran following the killing of top commander Qassem Soleimani in a US air strike, and the admission by Tehran days later that it had accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner.

“The issue is not Iran’s behavior,” said the parliamentary speaker. “It is America’s threats that have pushed a powerful European country to a humiliating and unjust” position, said Larijani.

Germany confirmed last week that the United States had been threatening to impose a 25-percent tariff on European cars if the bloc continued to back the nuclear deal.

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