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  • UK's Johnson, France's Macron reiterated their commitment to upholding Iran's nuclear deal.

    UK's Johnson, France's Macron reiterated their commitment to upholding Iran's nuclear deal. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 January 2020
Opinion

“They agreed on the importance of de-escalation and of working with international partners to find a diplomatic way through the current tensions” British PM office said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed Sunday their commitment to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and conceded a long-term framework was needed, Johnson’s office said.

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“On Iran, the leaders reiterated their commitment to the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and also acknowledged the need to define a long-term framework to prevent Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon,” a spokeswoman from the office of the British PM said in a statement after the two leaders met on the margins of the Berlin summit on Libya.

“They agreed on the importance of de-escalation and of working with international partners to find a diplomatic way through the current tensions.”

The three European signatories, known as the E3 (U.K., France, and Germany) had announced Tuesday their activation of the “dispute mechanism” with the aim of forcing Iran back into full compliance with its obligations under the JCPOA.

But Iran said its retraction from its practical commitments came as a response to the United States’ departure from the deal in May 2018 and the ensuing sanctions it re-imposed on the Persian country, devastating its economy. 

The Islamic Republic also explained its withdrawal as a reaction to Europe's lack of will in facilitating the country’s banking transactions and oil exports.

"Britain, France, and Germany, three parties to the Iranian deal, claim that Europe has kept its obligations under JCPOA, however, in reality, they have not imported Iran's oil and have not facilitated Iran's international banking actions," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted Thursday.

After the killing of top Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani by a U.S. drone strike earlier this month, Tehran declared it would no longer abide by the agreement’s key provisions but insisted that it remained open to negotiating with European partners over its nuclear program, and said it won’t retreat from earlier promises to not seek a nuclear weapon.

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The agreement, considered at the moment of its signing in 2015 a milestone achievement,  intended to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for sanctions relief and its reintegration into the international community. But U.S. President Donald Trump called it "the worst deal in history" and unilaterally withdrew from it. 

Right-wing Johnson proposed to create a new agreement and said last week he would be willing to work on a "Trump deal" to replace the JCPOA.

But his proposal clashes with the E3's position, as they expressed their "determination to work with all participants to preserve" the deal. They also said they were not joining the U.S. campaign to implement "maximum pressure" against Iran.

"Given recent events, it is all the more important that we do not add a nuclear proliferation crisis to the current escalation threatening the whole region," they added.

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