The European Union has warned Iran that the 2015 nuclear agreement is on life support and in danger of being ripped apart unless Tehran changed its course. In the threat, reported to have been made privately on Wednesday, the EU warned the Islamic Republic that it will be forced to start withdrawing from the nuclear deal in November if Iran continued to take steps in breach of the agreement.
Iran has already taken steps away from the deal that have been in violation of the accord in reaction to US President Donald Trump’s efforts to punish the Islamic regime with new sanctions. Trump unilaterally withdrew from the deal signed by America’s European allies, UK, France, Germany as well as China and Russia. He then embarked on a “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran which plunged the region into a series of crises that escalated to the attack on Saudi oil facilities two weeks ago.
The Europeans, who until the attack on Saudi oil instillations appeared serious about protecting the deal, seem to have resigned to failure. All the European signatories to the deal sided with the US and accused Iran of being responsible for the drone strike that took out half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production capacity. Accusations Tehran denies.
With Europe’s patience running dry, and seeing no way out of the deadlock, the nuclear deal has entered a critical phase. Iran has been told any further non-compliance of the deal would push the agreement into the formal dispute mechanism.
This is a significant development as once the deal’s dispute mechanism is triggered, both sides have 30 days to prove significant non-compliance, and if necessary, a world-wide sanction snap-back occurs.
Iran has always maintained that its escalatory steps are reversable and once Trump lifts sanctions it will abide fully by the deal. One source however questioned this reasoning saying: “The difficulty is that Iran says the steps are reversible, but if they learn about building a nuclear bomb, that is irreversible.”