Foreign Minister Zarif Urges E3 to ‘State Publicly What They Admit Privately’

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a treaty covering Iran’s nuclear program, included seven countries and was signed in 2015, envisaging Tehran curbing its nuclear research programs in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. However, the decision by the Trump administration to leave the agreement in 2018 put the plan at risk.

The Foreign Minister of Iran, Javad Zarif, tweeted that the E3 has failed to fulfill their duties under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) treaty and must “stop public face-saving” and “muster the courage to state publicly what they admit privately”. Zarif stated that “behind the facade”, the E3 – the UK, France and Germany – are “accessories to Trump and Netanyahu” and are in no position to “counsel” Iran.

His statement continues the criticism of the so-called European Three (E3), comprising the above-mentioned states, for the group’s failure to confront US sanctions imposed on the Tehran, as the JCPOA is at risk following the withdrawal of the US by the Trump administration and its reimposing of sanctions against Iran.

The INSTEX trade mechanism, introduced by the E3 to evade penalties, has seen limited implementation and according to Iran is “not enough”.

Zarif tweeted his comments shortly after remarks on the possibility of an “agreeable” solution to inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites amid constant calls from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Tehran to provide access to the sites and allegations that Iran is violating the restrictions under the deal.

​On Friday, the IAEA released a resolution again calling on Iran to provide “prompt access” to its two nuclear facilities “specified by the Agency” but drawing “regret” from the Islamic republic. Tehran has repeatedly insisted that no reason for inspection has been provided by the IAEA, and denounced the demand as “neither authentic nor related to the open-source”.

Responding to Friday’s resolution, Iran’s Permanent Representative to International Organisations in Vienna, Kazem Gharib Abadi, expressed “deep regret” that it was presented by the E3, and criticized the group for failing to take “any concrete practical step in the implementation of their obligations under the JCPOA”.

Tehran’s dissatisfaction with the E3’s reluctance to take action came amid a statement released by the E3 on Friday. The UK, France and Germany formally opposed the US intention to reinstate UN sanctions, only noting that the decision was “incompatible with our current efforts to preserve the JCPOA”, but not providing any related plans for action.

In 2018, US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of the JPCOA, accusing Tehran of breaching the treaty, ignoring condemnation from the other signatories and notification from the IAEA that no violations had been recorded. Trump’s move followed his adviser’s wave of criticism of the deal, characterizing without explanation as “the worst deal ever” and goign so far as to suggest that the historic nuclear treaty was a move aimed simply at scrapping his 2016 presidential campaign.

One year after the Trump administration’s exit from the JCPOA, Iran, while sticking to its promise that no nuclear weapon was being developed, began scrapping core commitments under the deal, while urging the E3 to take actions to preserve the deal.

Despite the withdrawal by the White House, the sanctions targeting the country’s vital economic sectors and an insufficient INSTEX trade mechanism suggested by the E3, Tehran said that it was prepared to revive negotiations on its nuclear program if Washington can return to the negotiating table while scrapping the sanctions.

The 2015 JCPOA agreement was signed by Iran, the United States, the European Union, Russia, Britain, France and Germany, envisaging that the Islamic republic would limit its nuclear program and allow regular inspections top its facilities by the IAEA in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

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