On Tuesday, the three European signatories to the Iran deal released a joint statement the mechanism was activated in response to what they claimed to be Iran’s repeated violations of the nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
After the mechanism is implemented, Iran would be given 15 days to resolve the dispute with the threesome states. The process can ultimately lead to a “snapback” — which refers to the re-imposition of the UN Security Council’s sanctions that were lifted after the nuclear was reached in 2015.
The JCPOA lifted nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Iran by the UN and some other signatories of the deal, particularly the US.
The Islamic Republic, in return, voluntarily changed some aspects of its nuclear program. The agreement was later ratified in the form of Security Council 2231, which terminated previous UN resolutions against the Islamic Republic.
The United States was a partner to the accord until May 2018 when it unilaterally left the deal and re-imposed its sanctions. Washington took the move within the framework of a so-called “maximum pressure” policy against Iran that came into force under President Donald Trump.
Bowing to Washington’s pressure, the three remaining European signatories failed to protect Tehran’s business interests under the deal after the US’s withdrawal and started to tow Washington’s sanction line.
A year later, Iran began in May 2019 to gradually reduce its commitments under the JCPOA to both retaliate for Washington’s departure and prompt the European trio to respect their obligations towards Tehran.
Recently, Iran took a final step in reducing its commitments, and said it would no longer observe any operational limitations on its nuclear industry. The announcement came two days after US drone strikes assassinated senior Iranian commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.
Tehran has, however, reminded that all its retaliatory steps fitted within Paragraph 36 of the JCPOA, and that its countermeasures are “reversible upon effective implementation of reciprocal obligations.”
The EU3, however, refuted “the argument that Iran is entitled to reduce compliance with the JCPOA.