By Danny C. | DCPeriodical | 01/21/20
Following secret threats to put tariffs on European autos last week, Britain, France, and Germany formally accused Iran of breaking its side of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) — the nuclear agreement put in place to curb Iran’s nuclear program. This action is well on its way to becoming a situation where UN-imposed sanctions are put on the Islamic Republic. That is, if those three European nations decide to officially refer the dispute to the UN Security Council.
In response, Iran has threatened to not only continue enriching uranium without limits, but also pull out the UN Non-Proliferation Treaty, which was put in place to eventually disarm the planet of nuclear weapons.
Iran was an early signatory of the 1970 treaty, which was designed to eventually lead to disarmament. Non-nuclear weapons states that are signatories, including Iran, agree not to pursue weapons and to only develop peaceful atomic technology.–Bloomberg
If Britain, France, and Germany do go through with referring the dispute to the Security Council, Iranian officials say they’re dead set to pull out of the treaty:
“If Europeans continue their untenable conduct or send Iran’s nuclear case to the United Nations Security Council, we will withdraw from the N.P.T.,” Mohammad Javad Zarif told lawmakers, referring to the international treaty to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, the official parliamentary news service ICANA reported.
Iran, who has always claimed to be using their nuclear program for energy, not bombs, had entered the JCPoA in 2015. They were holding up their end of the bargain and staying within the accord’s parameters until May 2018, when Donald Trump abandoned it and threw heavy sanctions against Iran.
At that point, Iran began to rollback their compliance, while at the same time calling out European nations signed on to the accord for not protecting them from US sanctions.
The European countries failed to protect Iran’s benefits from the deal and after patiently watching for more than a year and seeing no clear action from the European signatories of the nuclear deal, Iran started to partially reduce its commitments.–Tehran Times
When the US assassinated one of their top officials in Iraq — General Qasem Soleimani — that was it. Iran officially announced they were abandoning their uranium enrichment limits.
This is when Trump threatened to put 25% tariffs on European autos if Europe didn’t officially accuse Iran of breaking their side of the JCPoA — which America had already abandoned. As we know, Britain, France and Germany complied with Trump’s demands, but did their best to save face with one European official saying they were planning on triggering the dispute anyway: “We didn’t want to appear weak, so we agreed to keep the existence of the threat a secret.”
Iran’s officials have voiced their displeasure with these turns of events. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Monday, “steps in reducing the [JCPOA] commitments have already been taken. However, Iran will quit the NPT if the Europeans continue their behavior or send Iran’s case to the Security Council.”
Zarif also said that Britain, France, and Germany’s triggering of the dispute mechanism is coming far later than Iran’s, who legally began the trigger mechanism over a year-and-a-half prior, directly after the US withdrew from the deal:
“The Islamic Republic of Iran officially started the dispute mechanism in May 2018 after the United States’ withdrawal from the JCPOA. Three letters were sent to Mrs. Mogherini [then European Union foreign policy chief] on May 10, 2018, August 26, 2018 and November 2018 in which it was announced officially that Iran has started the dispute mechanism.”
He later added, “in the letter which was sent in November 2018, we said that Iran has started the dispute mechanism and therefore, we have no choice but to reduce commitments to the JCPOA.”
Since the dispute was triggered last week by the three European countries, the clock began ticking. From then, Iran has 65 days to reach a resolution with its accusers before UN and EU sanctions become more than just a possibility.
If Britain, France, and Germany refer to accusation to the UN Security Council, Iran says they’ll drop both the JCPoA and NPT.
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