France, Germany, and the UK announced they have triggered a formal dispute resolution process in response to Iranian violations of the 2015 nuclear deal, according to statements released by European diplomats on Jan. 14.
Josep Borrell Fontelles, the European Union’s representative for foreign affairs, wrote that he received a letter from Germany, France, and the United Kingdom to “[trigger] a dispute mechanism” of the agreement with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). They “will now oversee the process which requires intensive efforts [and] approach in good faith by all,” he said, adding that it’s “more important than ever” to preserve the accord.
In a statement, the UK, France, and Germany said they have no choice but to take action amid the escalation of tensions between Washington and Iran, after the White House ordered the killing of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, and Tehran announced it would pull back from key components of the nuclear deal, including the limit on centrifuges.
The Europeans said they can’t credibly move forward to save the agreement without the dispute resolution process being initiated.
“We have therefore been left with no choice, given Iran’s actions, but to register today our concerns that Iran is not meeting its commitments under the JCPOA and to refer this matter to the Joint Commission under the Dispute Resolution Mechanism,” the ministers said.
They added: “We do this in good faith with the overarching objective of preserving the JCPOA and in the sincere hope of finding a way forward to resolve the impasse through constructive diplomatic dialogue while preserving the agreement and remaining within its framework. In doing so, our three countries are not joining a campaign to implement maximum pressure against Iran. Our hope is to bring Iran back into full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA.”
The United States reimposed its sanctions on Tehran after President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal and called on other major powers to abandon it, saying that the lack of sanctions has allowed Iran to pursue its ambitions in the Middle East. And on Jan. 10, the White House announced more sanctions against the regime after it launched a barrage of missiles at Iraqi bases that house U.S. troops on Jan. 7. Hours later on Jan. 8, Iran—by its own admission—shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing 176 people and prompting protests across the country.
On Jan. 14, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Trump needs to come up with his own deal to replace the 2015 deal, and he noted that the accord had “many, many faults.”
“President Trump is a great deal-maker, by his own account and many others. Let’s work together to replace the JCPOA and get the Trump deal instead. That is our opportunity,” Johnson told the BBC.