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US Decision to End Iran Nuclear Waivers Worries Europe

US Decision to End Iran Nuclear Waivers Worries Europe

Sunday, 31 May, 2020 - 07:45
Paris - Michel Abu Najm

France, Germany and Britain expressed on Saturday “deep regret” at a US decision to end sanction waivers for countries remaining in the Iran nuclear deal.

“We deeply regret the US decision to end the three waivers covering key Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear projects in Iran,” the three European countries said in a joint statement along with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell.

“These projects, endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231, serve the non-proliferation interests of all and provide the international community with assurances of the exclusively peaceful and safe nature of Iranian nuclear activities,” the statement read.

They affirmed they will consult with their partners to assess the consequences of this US decision.

“We have worked continuously with the aim of ensuring the full and effective implementation of commitments under the JCPOA, in particular the return of Iran to full compliance with its nuclear commitments without delay.”

On Wednesday, the US said it will terminate sanctions waivers that had allowed Russian, Chinese and European companies to carry out work originally designed to make it harder for Iranian nuclear sites to be used for weapons development.

The waivers, which officials said expire on July 27, covered the conversion of Iran’s Arak heavy water research reactor, the provision of enriched uranium for its Tehran Research Reactor and the transfer of spent and scrap reactor fuel abroad.

Unlike previous stances, the European statement was issued by spokesmen for the three countries’ foreign ministries rather than the ministers themselves.

Europeans have raised questions regarding the timing of the US decision, as Washington had “turned a blind eye” to this aspect of the agreement despite its withdrawal in 2018 and its imposition of a “maximum pressure” campaign on Tehran.

The State Department has also been urging the UN Security Council to renew a conventional-weapons embargo against Iran, which is set to expire in October, creating more controversy.

These two issues put Europeans in the corner, especially that they are still committed to the JCPAO for the reasons mentioned in their latest statement, the most important of which is maintaining Iranian nuclear activities under the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) supervision.

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