US President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, in May 2018, re-imposing sanctions against Tehran that had earlier been lifted under the agreement.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted that it has been “clear” since May 2018 that the European signatories to the JCPOA had failed to fulfill their commitments.
Zarif noted that there would be no new deal before “compliance w/ current one.”
Since May, Iran has been discontinuing its obligations under the deal every 60 days in response to Washington’s unilateral withdrawal and the pressure of renewed sanctions. While European signatories claim that they remain committed to the deal, Tehran says that following the United States’ exit, Europe has failed to ensure the country’s interests under the agreement. A third round of Iran’s scrapping of the accord started earlier in September.
In September, Kazem Gharib Abadi, Iran’s permanent representative to international organizations including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, explained that Iran’s actions regarding the 2015 nuclear deal were not aimed at “destroying” the agreement, stressing that if Tehran wanted to do so it could have followed the US and withdrawn from the agreement, but instead chose to save it and work with the remaining parties.
“The nature of the actions that we are doing is to preserve the JCPOA rather than its destruction. This is the case, so we are continuing this incremental step and approach […] At this stage our approach is to continue to reduce our obligations on a 60-day basis,” Abadi stated.
The JCPOA was signed in 2015 by Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and the European Union. It required Iran to scale back its nuclear program and severely downgrade its uranium reserves in exchange for sanctions relief.
Trump’s withdrawal from the multilateral deal was announced on 8 May 2018, prompting criticism from US allies in Europe. Trump described the JCPOA as a “horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made,” suggesting that it was “defective at its core.” The US president vowed to strike a new deal with Iran that would bring “peace and stability we all want in the Middle East.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani noted at the time that the US has a history of undermining international treaties.
Russia has been constantly calling on all the parties to the agreement to put effort into defusing tensions.
Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated that Moscow “does its utmost for the Plan of Action to be fully implemented.”
“We carry out active communications on the JCPOA with its participants, as well as with the United States, and, of course, we support at all levels the political dialogue with Iran,” Vladimir Putin said.