Iran: France’s consideration of nuclear deal dispute mechanism ‘irresponsible’

Spokesman Abbas Mousavi gives a press conference in Tehran on May 28, 2019. (File photo: AFP)

Iran rejected on Thursday France’s consideration of invoking a dispute resolution mechanism within the Iran nuclear deal that could lead to UN sanctions, calling it “irresponsible.”

The deal “does not allow the European parties to invoke the mechanism as Iran is exercising its legal right in response to the United States’ illegal and unilateral actions,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said, according to state television.

“Under these circumstances, the deal does not allow triggering of the mechanism by the European parties to the deal ... such remarks by the French official are irresponsible and not constructive,” Mousavi said.

France’s foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian suggested on Wednesday that Paris was seriously considering triggering a mechanism within the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that could possibly lead to UN sanctions, given Tehran’s repeated breaches of the deal.

“Every two months, there is another dent [in the deal by Iran] to the point where today we ask ourselves, and I’m saying this very clearly, about the implementation of the dispute resolution mechanism that exists in the deal,” Drian told a parliamentary hearing.

Britain, France and Germany have sought to salvage the pact, under which Iran undertook to curtail its uranium enrichment program in return for relief from sanctions crippling its economy, since the United States withdrew last year.

But the three European powers have failed to make good on the trade and investment dividends promised to Iran under the deal as they have been unable to shield Tehran from renewed US sanctions that have strangled its vital oil trade.

That has prompted Iran to renege step by step from its non-proliferation commitments under the deal. Until now the European powers have opted to hold back on triggering the mechanism, fearing it could further impede diplomatic efforts, notably by France, to defuse tensions.

The remaining parties to the deal meet in Vienna on December 6 to discuss how to move forward.

The mechanism involves a party referring a dispute to a Joint Commission comprising Iran, Russia, China, the three European powers, and the European Union and then on to the UN Security Council if that commission cannot resolve it.

If the Security Council does not vote within 30 days to continue sanctions relief, sanctions in place under previous UN resolutions would be reimposed - known as a “snapback.”

“We have tried several initiatives that are going backwards [because] we have French [citizens] imprisoned [in Iran], we’ve established that regional attacks, notably on Saudi Arabia, from the Iranian authorities have been carried out,” he said.

The magnitude of recent protests in Iran and the authorities’ response also hampered efforts to persuade the United States to de-escalate the standoff, Le Drian said.

“It seems to prove them [the US] right in their logic of maximum pressure, given the behavior of the Supreme Leader and President [Hassan] Rouhani towards the protesters.”

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:56 - GMT 06:56