Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Tehran may not take the “third step” in reducing its commitments under a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal if the Europeans take necessary action to fulfill their obligations under the agreement.
Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Sunday, Zarif added that proposals have been made to take the third step regarding the reduction of Iran’s commitments under the nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), noting that Iran is in the “final stages of decision-making.”
“Iran’s negotiations with the Europeans will continue… If the Europeans fail to carry out necessary measures by Thursday, we will write a letter to the Europeans… announcing the implementation of the third step,” Zarif said.
Iran has rowed back on its nuclear commitments twice in compliance with articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA.
Tehran says its reciprocal measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the Iranian economy from unilateral US sanctions which were imposed last year when President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal.
European signatories to the JCPOA — Britain, Germany and France — have so far failed to uphold their commitments. They have expressed vocal support for the deal, but failed to provide meaningful economic incentives as required under the nuclear agreement.
The top Iranian diplomat further said Iran would officially announce its “definite decision” immediately after finalizing it.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has never left the negotiating table and has always announced that it is ready to implement the JCPOA,” Zarif added.
“If the Europeans fulfill their obligations, Iran will also resume fulfilling its commitments.”
The Europeans have already missed a 60 day-deadline set by Tehran, prompting Iran to go for the second phase of cutting its commitments on July 7, which marked the start of a second such deadline for them.
As a first step Iran increased its enriched uranium stockpile to beyond the 300 kilograms set by the JCPOA.
In the second step, Tehran began enriching uranium to purity rates beyond the JCPOA limit of 3.76 percent.
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Friday that the 28-nation bloc will continue working to preserve the nuclear accord but will welcome any progress beyond it.
“Again if something else can be built on it [JCPOA], this would be welcomed and accompanied by the European Union,” the EU foreign policy chief told reporters during a meeting of EU foreign ministers in the Finnish capital of Helsinki.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said last month that the country will continue to further reduce its commitments under the multilateral nuclear deal if other parties to the accord fail to live up to their commitments.
“It is possible for us to reach an acceptable result in coming weeks and it is possible to reach a result. However, if we do not reach a result, the next stage of reducing our commitments [under the JCPOA] will enter into force,” Rouhani said.