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Europe Extends Time Limit to Resolve Nuclear Deal Disputes with Iran

Europe Extends Time Limit to Resolve Nuclear Deal Disputes with Iran

Wednesday, 5 February, 2020 - 06:45
FILE PHOTO: Iranian workers stand in front of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, about 1,200 km south of Tehran October 26, 2010. REUTERS/Mehr News Agency/Majid Asgaripour/File Photo
London - Tehran - Asharq Al-Awsat

The European Union will extend indefinitely the time limit to resolve disputes in the Iran 2015 nuclear accord to avoid having to go to the UN Security Council or triggering new sanctions, the EU’s top diplomat has said.


“We are in agreement not to go directly to a strict time limit which would oblige (us) to go to the Security Council,” the EU’s Josep Borrell told reporters during a visit to Tehran on Monday.


In his remarks, broadcast on Tuesday, he said: “The willingness is not to start a process that goes to the end of JCPOA, but to keep it alive,” referring to the Iran deal by its formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.


Iran’s state news agency IRNA said that Borrell is expected to head to Washington on Friday in his effort to keep the deal alive.


Britain, France and Germany formally accused Iran on Jan. 14 of violating the terms of the 2015 arms control agreement aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear program. Violations could lead to the reimposing of UN sanctions lifted under the deal.


After months of gradual steps to reduce compliance, Iran said on Jan. 6 it would scrap limits on enriching uranium.


Borrell, who is chair of the Iran deal, was notified in January by Paris, London and Berlin that they had triggered the dispute mechanism, in theory starting a 15-day process to resolve issues with Iran.


However, there are some questions over when the 15-day period should start because Iran has not formally recognized the consultation process, Reuters quoted officials as saying.


Borrell said he had agreed with Berlin, London and Paris to “continuously postpone” the 15-day limit. However, he said progress depended on maintaining the presence of the UN atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in Iran to monitor its nuclear activities.


After meeting Borrell on Monday, President Hassan Rouhani was quoted as saying that Iran is ready to cooperate with the EU on issues related to the nuclear deal.


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