Europe can’t incentivize Iran to implement nuclear deal — senior Russian diplomat

TASS – The diplomat denounced the trend among the European parties to the JCPOA to put all the blame on Tehran 

European countries cannot come up with an economic incentive for Iran to implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and that is why Iran is choosing to scale back on its commitments assumed under the nuclear deal, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian reporters on Thursday during his working trip to Israel.

According to the diplomat, it is premature to talk about holding meeting between foreign ministers from the five international mediators (Russia, China, France, Germany and the United Kingdom) and Iran on the nuclear deal.

“For such a ministerial meeting to be productive, it needs to be properly arranged. We are not quite sure now that primarily European parties to the JCPOA adequately assess these developments, they are also starting to follow the trend of putting all the blame on Tehran. This is not right, the result of their [European parties to the JCPOA] insufficient efforts, inability to offer economic incentives to Iran for fully complying with the JCPOA is that Iran is gradually shedding the assumed obligations, obligations that were assumed voluntarily,” Ryabkov said.

These obligations are what “Iran willingly assumed to implement the JCPOA, it is put down in the JCPOA precisely like that,” he underlined. “Therefore, when the country is not feeling an economic impact, it naturally decides to take certain steps to reduce the burden of its commitments,” he continued. “We understand this reasoning. We are not completely sure whether the Europeans understand it, therefore, now it seems to be premature to mention such a ministerial meeting,” he concluded.

Tensions over Iran’s nuclear program exacerbated after Washington unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA on May 8, 2018 and slapped US economic sanctions on Iran’s oil exports. A year later, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran was scaling back some of its commitments under the JCPOA and called on other signatories to the deal to comply with the conditions of the agreement within two months. The JCPOA was signed between Iran, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (Russia, the United Kingdom, China, the United States and France) and Germany in 2015. Under the deal, Iran undertook to curb its nuclear activities and place them under total control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in exchange for abandonment of the sanctions imposed previously by the United Nations Security Council, the European Union and the United States over its nuclear program.

Iran pledged not to enrich uranium above the level of 3.67% for 15 years and maintain enriched uranium stockpiles at the level not exceeding 300 kg, as well as not to build new heavy-water reactors, not to accumulate heavy water and not to develop nuclear explosive devices.

In May 2019, Iran announced the first step of scrapping the JCPOA commitments by halting sales of enriched uranium for 60 days. On July 7, Tehran proceeded to the second stage of scaling down its commitments and announced it had exceeded the 3.67%-level of uranium enrichment. In addition, it promised to keep on reducing its commitment every 60 days if other participants in the deal were not committed to the deal. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed on July 1 and July 8 that Iran had exceeded the 300 kg limit set for its stockpiles of low enriched uranium and had exceeded the 3.67% enrichment threshold.

On September 6, Tehran launched the first step of scaling back on its commitments to the nuclear deal, which meant that the country refused to observe the restrictions placed on nuclear research. The Iranian side claimed that the actions were prompted by the European parties not complying with their obligations. On Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced further steps away from its JCPOA obligations on November 6 by launching centrifuges at the Fordow enrichment facility.