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AFP
July 16, 2019

UK calls for reduced tensions with Tehran: Iran urges Europe to save nuclear deal

World

AFP
July 16, 2019

TEHRAN/London: Iran on Monday urged the European parties to the 2015 nuclear deal "to take practical, effective and responsible decisions" to save the landmark agreement.

"We stress that the continued voluntary and goodwill based actions by the Islamic Republic of Iran are rooted in the principle of reciprocity of rights and duties" in the nuclear deal, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

On Sunday the European parties to the deal -- Britain, France and Germany -- called for dialogue as tensions further intensified between Iran and the United States. In a statement, the so-called E3 expressed concern the deal was at risk of further unravelling but said it was up to Iran to ensure its survival.

The three European states were among the key players in the 2015 deal -- known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA -- on Iran´s nuclear programme. But US President Donald Trump in 2018 announced Washington was pulling out of the deal, to the dismay of its European allies.

Angered that its beleaguered economy is not receiving sanctions relief it believes it was promised under the deal, Iran has intensified its sensitive uranium enrichment work, prompting stern warnings from Washington.

In its statement on Monday, the foreign ministry in Tehran said the expectations of the Europeans were "unrealistic". "Any expectation for Iran to return to the conditions prior to May 8, 2019 without proof of any political will and practical ability of the European parties" to ensure sanctions relief "is an unrealistic expectation".

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Monday that Iran´s actions were "profoundly destabilising" but said he wanted to reduce tensions in the Middle East, ahead of talks with his EU counterparts. "Heading to Brussels for urgent talks on how to reduce tensions with Iran," Hunt tweeted.

"Their approach to Mid East has been profoundly destabilising but we want to reduce not raise tensions over Grace 1 and avoid a nuclearised region. "But a deal is a deal and if one side breaches it..."

European Union foreign ministers are meeting to discuss the 2015 deal over Iran´s nuclear programme, as tensions further intensify between Tehran and the United States. Washington has pulled out of the deal, to the dismay of its European allies who also signed the accord.

Angered that its beleaguered economy is not receiving sanctions relief it believes was promised under the deal, Iran has intensified its sensitive uranium enrichment work, prompting warnings from Washington.

Britain was drawn into the row when officials in its tiny territory of Gibraltar seized an Iranian oil tanker, "Grace One", earlier this month. US officials believe the tanker was destined for Syria to deliver oil, in violation of sanctions, but Tehran reacted with anger.

In a phone call with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif on Saturday, Hunt said the tanker would be released following guarantees on its destination.

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