Date
12 January 2020
Members of the media and officials tour the water nuclear reactor at Arak, Iran on Dec 23, 2019. Tehran has announced that it will abandon limits on enriching uranium. Photo: WANA via Reuters
Members of the media and officials tour the water nuclear reactor at Arak, Iran on Dec 23, 2019. Tehran has announced that it will abandon limits on enriching uranium. Photo: WANA via Reuters

Europeans mull tough response over Iran nuclear violations

European parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal could launch a dispute resolution process this week that might lead to renewed UN sanctions on Tehran, according to Reuters.

Confirming an emergency meeting of the European Union’s 28 foreign ministers would take place on Friday, an EU diplomat told the news agency: “We must be ready to react to Iran’s breaches of the nuclear deal.”

Asked whether this could mean triggering a mechanism that could result in international sanctions being reimposed on Tehran, the envoy said: “It is increasingly likely, but not yet decided. Friday will be key.”

Two other diplomats said France, Britain and Germany could make the decision before Friday.

Asked whether the mechanism would be triggered, one of the diplomats said: “Not later than Friday, but yes.”

The move comes after?Iran took a further step back from its commitments to the 2015 pact with six world powers by announcing on Sunday that it would scrap limits on enriching uranium.

The decision followed the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike.

“The vagueness of the Iran announcement makes it more necessary than ever to launch the mechanism since its whole purpose is to resolve the differences we have on this,” a third diplomat told Reuters.

Any party to the deal that believes another is not meeting its commitments can refer the issue to a Joint Commission comprising Iran, Russia, China, the three European powers and the EU.

There would then be 15 days to resolve the differences, but the period can be extended if there is a consensus to do so.

The process can ultimately lead to a “snapback” – the reimposition of sanctions in place under previous UN resolutions unless the UN Security Council decides otherwise.

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