Tehran, Iran – The other parties to a landmark nuclear deal they signed with Iran in 2015 renewed their commitment to upholding the deal at an online meeting.
Foreign ministers of Iran, Germany, France, UK, China and Russia on Monday attended a two-hour meeting chaired by the foreign policy chief of the ‘European Union, Josep Borrell.
In a tweet ahead of the meeting, Borrell said the goal was to “reaffirm our commitment to upholding” the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear deal is officially known.
Today chair a virtual ministerial meeting of E3 / EU + 2 (China, France, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom) and Iran – participants of the #JCPOA – to reaffirm our commitment to preserve the agreement.
– Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) December 21, 2020
A joint statement at the end of the meeting said that ministers “discussed that the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA by all remains crucial and discussed the need to address the ongoing implementation challenges. , in particular on nuclear non-proliferation and the lifting of sanctions “.
Foreign ministers recognized the agreement, enshrined in United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, as a “key element” of the global non-proliferation regime and a diplomatic achievement contributing to regional and international peace.
World powers have reaffirmed that the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is the only independent and impartial organization capable of technically verifying the implementation of the non-proliferation elements of the agreement.
Foreign ministers also expressed “deep regret” over the United States’ unilateral exit from the deal in May 2018, which was followed by the imposition of severe economic sanctions on Iran.
“The ministers agreed to continue the dialogue to ensure the full implementation of the JCPOA by all parties,” the statement said.
“The ministers recognized the prospect of a return of the United States to the JCPOA and stressed their readiness to approach this issue in a positive way as part of a joint effort.”
US President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to bring his country back into the deal and lift sanctions, but hinted more negotiations are needed over Iran’s missile program and regional influence.
European signatories to the nuclear deal also made similar remarks, but Iran has categorically rejected any further negotiations, saying the nuclear deal must be implemented as negotiated and signed in 2015.
Speaking after the officials’ video conference, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Iran should avoid taking tactical measures that would prevent Biden from reversing President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the deal.
“To make a rapprochement with the United States possible under Biden, there should not be other tactical maneuvers of the type that we have seen too often in the recent past,” he told reporters. “This chance, this last window of opportunity, must not be wasted.”
Monday’s virtual meeting came days after senior Iranian diplomats and other signatories to the nuclear deal held online talks chaired by senior EU foreign affairs official Helga Schmid .
During the meeting Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said President Hassan Rouhani’s administration was opposed to a recent bill approved by parliament, but was bound by law to implement it.
Legislation pushed by extremists in Iran’s parliament was enlightened in days earlier this month following the assassination of Iranian nuclear and military scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
Fakhrizadeh was assassinated in late November in what Iran sees as a sophisticated Israeli attack.
The bill calls on the Iranian government and the country’s Atomic Energy Agency to install advanced centrifuge cascades, increase uranium enrichment, and expel IAEA inspectors if Iran fails not to enjoy the economic benefits promised under the nuclear deal in two months.
In an interview published Monday, Iran’s nuclear program chief Ali Akbar Salehi criticized the bill, which among other things requires the Atomic Energy Agency to build 1,000 next-generation IR-6 centrifuges.
“Where should the money come from?” If it’s local resources, then they don’t know how much local resources we have or they don’t know how much the IR-6 centrifuges cost, ”he said.