The European Union’s foreign policy chief has said that none of the signatory parties to the Iran nuclear deal believe that the country’s breach of the agreement are “significant.”
On July 7, the Iranian government announced it started to increase uranium enrichment beyond the purity threshold it had agreed to in the landmark nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The JCPOA was intended to limit Iran’s civilian nuclear program and prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.
That announcement showed that Iran is no longer complying entirely with the agreement it signed with the United States and five other nations (China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom) in 2015.
Tehran’s move came after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal and re-introduced economic sanctions in 2018.
In May, Iran announced its own partial withdrawal from the deal. The announcement marked the end of a 60-day ultimatum the country gave to the European signatories of the deal to ease sanctions on its banking and oil sectors.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, EU foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherini said that none of the parties signed up to the agreement wanted to invoke the dispute resolution mechanism, a process that would allow signatories to impose sanctions if they found that Iran wasn’t holding up its part of the agreement.
“For the time being, none of the parties to the agreement has signaled their intention to invoke this article, which means that none of them for the moment – for the time being with the current data we have had in particular from the IAEA – that the non-compliance is considered to be significant,” Mogherini said.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, estimates that Iran has enriched uranium to “about 4.5% and has exceeded its limits of low-enriched uranium stock.
Keeping uranium enrichment to below 3.67% was one of the commitments Iran made in return for the lifting of economic sanctions in 2015. The level is enough for civil use to power parts of the country, but not enough to build a nuclear bomb.
Speaking in Brussels on Monday, Mogherini said that JCPOA was in poor health, but refused to say it was on its final hours.
“Not having the JCPOA in place would be a terrible option,” she said.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has criticized the EU leaders’ response to Iran’s violations of the terms of deal in a video posted to his Twitter account.
“The reaction of the European Union to the Iranian non-compliance remind me of the appeasement of the 1930s. Then there was also someone who buried his head in the sand and did not see the dangers coming on. It seems there are some in Europe who will not wake up until Iranian nuclear missiles fall on European soil and then it will be too late,” Netanyahu said.
He added, “We in any case will continue to do everything that is needed to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.”
Earlier Monday, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that British, French and Dutch foreign ministers had agreed that that Iran cannot partially comply with the nuclear deal.
“We support nuclear deal but there can be no ‘partial’ compliance,” Hunt said in a message posted to Twitter.
“You are either on path to a nuclearized Middle East or not,” he said.
“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,” he added, referring to the Iranian oil tanker seized earlier this month.
Both Hunt and former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson—the two remaining candidates vying to be the next British prime minister—have said they would not support the United States should the US decide to go to war with Iran.
CNN’s Ivana Kottosova, Sam Bradpiece, Oren Liebermann, Michael Schwartz contributed to this report.