European countries to hold Iran accountable for violating nuclear deal

  • Jan 15, 2020
  • Sydney Morning Herald

Berlin: European countries have triggered a dispute mechanism in their nuclear deal with Iran, a move that could lead to the return of United Nations sanctions on Tehran.

Britain, France and Germany said that they had been "left with no choice" but to make the move given Iran's announcement on January 5 that it would no longer be bound by limitations on its nuclear energy program following Washington's targeted killing of Major General Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran's Quds Force.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell at the European parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday.Credit:AP

Tehran had been gradually reducing its commitments under the deal since the United States withdrew and reimposed sanctions in 2018. With Washington threatening secondary sanctions against European businesses dealing with Iran, Tehran argued it could no longer reap the financial benefits laid out in the pact in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.

In a joint statement on Tuesday, local time, Britain, France and Germany reiterated their regret at the Trump administration decision to withdraw from the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. They said that they had "sought to persuade Iran to change course" and "worked hard" to address its concerns.