BRUSSELS, July 15
Britain said on Monday there was a “small window” of time to save the Iran nuclear deal, as Tehran signalled it would ramp up its nuclear programme—seen by the West as a cover for making atomic bombs—if Europe failed to do more to salvage the pact.
US-Iranian tensions have worsened since US President Donald Trump decided last year to abandon the nuclear deal under which Iran agreed to curtail its atomic programme in return for relief from economic sanctions crippling its economy.
“Iran is still a good year away from developing a nuclear bomb. There is still some closing, but small window to keep the deal alive,” Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told reporters on arrival for a foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels.
The Brussels gathering will seek to flesh out how to convince Iran and the United States to reduce tensions and start a dialogue amid fears that the 2015 deal is close to collapse.
In reaction to the re-imposition of tough US sanctions, which have notably targeted Iran’s main oil revenue stream, Tehran has cut some of its nuclear commitments under the deal, leading the European parties to the pact, France, Britain and Germany, to warn it about not fully complying with the terms.
When asked whether European powers would seek to penalise Iran for breaking parts of its nuclear commitments, Hunt said they would seek a meeting of the parties to deal with it. “We will and there’s something called a joint commission, which is the mechanism set up in the deal which is what happens when one side thinks the other side has breached it, that will happen very soon,” he said.
Iran denies ever having sought a nuclear weapon. In Tehran, Iran’s nuclear agency said Iran would return to the situation before the nuclear deal unless European countries fulfilled their obligations. “These actions are not taken out of stubbornness but to give diplomacy a chance ,” agency spokesman said. — Reuters
Ready to talk if US lifts sanctions: Rouhani
- Iran is ready to hold talks with the United States if Washington lifts sanctions and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal it quit last year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Sunday
- US President Donald Trump’s administration has said it is open to negotiations with Iran on a more far-reaching agreement on nuclear and security issues
- But Iran has made any talks conditional on first being able to export as much oil as it did before the United States withdrew from the nuclear pact with world powers in May 2018