E3 making ‘strategic mistake’ by triggering dispute mechanism: Zarif

January 15, 2020 - 13:48

TEHRAN – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Tuesday that the European Union trio, known as E3, is making a “strategic mistake” by triggering the dispute mechanism in the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the JCPOA.

“Europeans’ action in using the dispute mechanism is baseless from legal point of view and strategic mistake from political point of view,” he said during a meeting with Niels Annen, a German foreign office minister, in New Delhi.

Zarif also criticized the Europeans’ failure to protect Iran’s interests under in the JCPOA.

For his part, Annen said, “Our stance is defending and supporting the JCPOA and the spirit of the three European ministers’ statement is not collapse of the JCPOA.” 

He also noted that Germany attaches great importance to ties with Iran.

Foreign ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom issued a joint statement on Tuesday announcing they have formally triggered the dispute mechanism in the nuclear deal.

U.S. President Donald Trump quit the nuclear deal in May 2018 and introduced the harshest ever sanctions in history on Iran as part of his administration’s “maximum pressure” strategy against Iran.

The European countries failed to protect Iran’s benefits from the deal and after patiently watching for a whole year and seeing no clear action from the European signatories of the nuclear deal, Iran started to partially reduce its commitments.

Iran’s action is based on articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA. Tehran has repeatedly announced it will reverse its decisions once other signatories fulfill their commitments.

Under the 2015 nuclear agreement endorsed by the UN Security Council resolution 2231, Iran agreed to put limits on its nuclear activities in exchange for the termination of economic and financial bans.

President Rouhani also reacted to the activation of dispute mechanism by the EU trio, warning that they will “suffer” if they take a “wrong step”.

“If you take a wrong step, you will suffer,” Rouhani told the cabinet meeting.

Rouhani recommended the Europeans to choose the right path by cherishing the nuclear agreement. “Choose the right path, and the right path is to return to the JCPOA."

In a statement on Tuesday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said activating the “trigger mechanism” will serve nobody’s interests.

“I have to mention that the three European nations have taken a passive measure from a weak position,” Abbas Mousavi said.

“Iran, as always, is prepared to deal with any constructive effort to save the important international agreement,” he said. However, Mousavi added, his country will take “firm, decisive and proportional response” to any “unconstructive” moves. 

NA/PA

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