Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the UK still supports the JCPOA nuclear deal but only if Iran returns to full compliance with it.
Hunt visited Brussels yesterday to meet with his French and German counterparts to discuss Iran’s recent violations of the nuclear agreement. After the meeting he tweeted: “Important discussions with EU colleagues including @JY_LeDrian and @ministerBlok about Iran: we support nuclear deal but there can be no ‘partial’ compliance. You are either on path to a nuclearised Middle East or not. So whilst we seek to dial down tensions on Grace 1 we also expect progress in returning to JCPOA compliance. Remember not just Europe supporting it but Russia and China too.”
In a joint statement, France, Germany, and the UK said: “We believe the time has come to act responsibly and seek a path to stop the escalation of tensions and resume dialogue. The risks are such that it is necessary for all stakeholders to pause and consider the possible consequences of their actions.”
The statement added: “While we continue to support the JCPOA, its continuation is contingent on Iran’s full compliance, and we strongly urge Iran to reverse its recent decisions in this regard. We will continue to explore the avenues of dialogue foreseen under the agreement to address Iran’s compliance, including through the Joint Commission of the JCPOA.”
Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs said she did not regard Iran’s breaches up to now as “significant non-compliance” under the terms of the deal and so they would not be triggering its dispute mechanism which could lead to further sanctions.
She added: “We have had unanimity on the need on the one hand to make INSTEX, the instrument we’ve put in place to have legitimate trade with Iran, faster and more operational, but also to continue working for Iran’s return to full compliance with the nuclear deal.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu compared the EU statement to appeasement in the 1930s. He said: “Then too, some people buried their heads in the sand and didn’t see the danger that was drawing near. Apparently, there are some people in Europe who aren’t going to wake up until Iranian nuclear missiles fall on European soil.”