Iran exceeding nuclear deal limits 'not significant', says EU

16 July 2019

European signatories to the Iran nuclear deal do not see Tehran's recent moves reducing compliance as significant and do not intend "for now" to trigger the agreement's dispute mechanism, Federica Mogherini, the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said yesterday, following a meeting of the EU's Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels

Federica Mogherini, the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, speaking yesterday (Image: European Council footage)

The Council said in a statement it had discussed Iran in light of the developments in the region and recent announcements and steps by the country to reduce its implementation of certain aspects of the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Mogherini said: "We had a good discussion on how to continue our work to preserve in full the nuclear deal with Iran. We have had unanimity among member states on the need both to make faster and more operational the instrument - INSTEX - which we have put in place to preserve legitimate trade with Iran, but also to continue working for Iran's return to full compliance with the nuclear deal."

France, Germany and the UK established INSTEX in January to facilitate non-dollar trade with Iran without breaking US sanctions. Iran's leaders have said the Islamic republic will come back into full compliance if European powers ensure it can sell oil on global markets.

Mogherini told journalists after the meeting that the remaining parties to the JCPOA do not intend to invoke the deal's mechanism to punish non-compliance for now. She added that current data from the UN nuclear watchdog - the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - did not indicate Iran's recent steps "to be significant non-compliance".

According to the IAEA's latest verification and monitoring report on Iran, which it made public last week, Iran has been enriching UF6 above the 3.67% U-235 limit stipulated in the JCPOA at its Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz.

Mogherini said: "The reality is that the deal has avoided Iran developing a nuclear weapon, and so it has been effective. I think everyone today recognises there is no alternative to this deal ... As an international community at large, it is key to keeping the situation as calm as possible in the region."

The JCPOA was signed in July 2015 by Iran and the E3/EU+3 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and the USA - also referred to as the P5+1) - plus the European Union and implemented in January 2016. Under its terms, Iran agreed to limit its uranium enrichment activities, eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium and limit its stockpile of low enriched uranium over the subsequent 15 years.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News