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EU gravely concerned over Iran’s breach of nuclear deal

Federica Mogherini and Mohammad Javad Zarif
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini (L) applauds Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a joint news conference after a plenary session at the UN building in Vienna, Austria 14 July 2015 [Getty]

The foreign ministers of the UK, Germany and France along with the European Union’s high representative issued a joint statement Tuesday urging Iran to reverse its decision to breach a limit under a 2015 nuclear agreement.

The statement by the European 3 (E3) and the European External Action Service (EEAS) expressed dismay and concern over Iran’s decision to exceed the limit set on its low-enriched uranium reserves.

“The Foreign Ministers of France, Germany, the UK, and the High Representative are extremely concerned at Iran’s announcement that it has exceeded the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action stockpile limit for low enriched uranium. The International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed this information,” the statement said.

“We have been consistent and clear that our commitment to the nuclear deal depends on full compliance by Iran. We regret this decision by Iran, which calls into question an essential instrument of nuclear non-proliferation.”

The E3 and the EEAS urged Iran to refrain from further exceeding the limits on its low-enriched uranium reserves and thus undermining the nuclear deal. The foreign ministries said they are considering the next steps to ensure the agreement does not collapse and are in coordination with their partners.

READ: Israel calls for ‘automatic’ European sanctions on Iran over uranium breach

On Monday, Iran revealed that it had breached the limit set on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium, allowing it to exceed the 300 kilograms agreed under the deal. Iran had warned that it had intended to breach the deal if the EU was not able to bypass US sanctions.

The breach follows the US withdrawal from the deal last year and Tehran’s frustration over the EU’s failure to counter crippling US sanctions and increase trade with Iran. US sanctions have deterred European businesses from conducting trade with the country.

Prior to the breach, the EU had announced the establishment of a trading mechanism known as Instex that would allow European businesses to trade with Iran without facing US scrutiny.

Under the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), Iran agreed to destroy its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium and cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%.

The JCPoA was signed by the UK, the US, Russia, China, France, Germany and the EU in 2015.

In October 2017, President Donald Trump announced that the US would no longer be a signatory to the deal and subsequently withdrew from it. Shortly after, the US imposed sanctions on Iran.

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