Published: Tue, January 14, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

European Union powers trigger Iran nuclear deal dispute mechanism

European Union powers trigger Iran nuclear deal dispute mechanism

That has accelerated sharply since 3 January, when the United States killed the most powerful Iranian military commander, Qassem Soleimani, in a drone strike in Baghdad.

Britain, France and Germany have triggered the dispute resolution mechanism in the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, a step that over months could result in the collapse of the agreement entirely and the return of European sanctions on Tehran.

The powers said they are referring "this matter to the Joint Commission under the Dispute Resolution Mechanism, as set out" in the nuclear deal.

To trigger the dispute mechanism, the three European countries notified the European Union, which acts as guarantor of the agreement.

Instead the move is meant to buy time for Iran and the U.S. to get back on some kind of diplomatic track to resolve their differences, which is the only way to save the deal and in the view of the E3 (UK, France and Germany) prevent an Iranian bomb.

Very soon after that process, the EU states could inform the United Nations that Iran is in breach of the agreement, leading to a reimposition of European sanctions.

The European countries said in their statement they were acting "in good faith with the overarching objective of preserving the JCPoA and in the honest hope of finding a way forward to resolve the impasse through constructive diplomatic dialogue, while preserving the agreement and remaining within its framework".

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Boris Johnson has offered a major concession to Donald Trump, suggesting the global deal limiting Iran's nuclear programme could be "replaced" with a "Trump deal".

"Given recent events, it is all the more important that we do not add a nuclear proliferation crisis to the current escalation threatening the whole region", they said. "Let's work together to replace the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] and get the Trump deal instead".

Iran has also said it will no longer observe any restrictions on its uranium enrichment programme.

"At one point we have to show our credibility", said one of the European diplomats.

The three European powers party to the deal act though the EU, which coordinates any negotiations over it with the other parties, which include Russian Federation and China.

The issue can then be passed to ministerial level within 15 days or left indefinitely at this level.

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