US pulling out of Iranian nuclear deal was mistake, says German president

TASS – The United States’ withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program has had a negative effect on the Middle Eastern security, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Friday at the opening of the 2020 Munich Security Conference.

“It was a mistake to reject the agreement with Iran. The Middle East did not become a safer place. On the contrary, it is a more dangerous region now,” he said. According to the German president, Europeans have a goal to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and prevent an arms race in the region.

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 of 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.

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. On May 8, 2019, President of Iran Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran was suspending the fulfilment of its part of the nuclear deal obligations. According to the Iranian side, the parties to the deal, particularly the Europeans, are not fully honoring their economic obligations and, therefore, the JCPOA in its current form is meaningless. Tehran continued to scale back on its commitments to the deal throughout 2019.

On January 5, Iran announced that it would no longer abide by restrictions set by the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program. Tehran’s latest move means that Iran will no longer honor the JCPOA-set limitations on the number of centrifuges required to enrich uranium. On January 14, France, Germany and the United Kingdom announced that they had triggered the dispute resolution mechanism in the JCPOA, justifying the move by saying that Iran’s actions left them no other choice.