VIENNA: The remaining parties to the faltering Iran nuclear agreement for 2015 met on Wednesday after Tehran revealed preparations for a new violation of the deal, and as confusion prevails ahead of the January inauguration of US President-elect Joe Biden.
The Joint Commission’s meeting included China, France, Russia, Iran, Germany and Britain, and was headed by Helga Schmid, a senior EU foreign relations official.
The conference, which lasted for about two hours, took place because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Since US President Donald Trump withdrew from it in 2018 and went on to place crippling economic sanctions on Iran, the 2015 agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has slowly unravelled.
Tehran has retaliated by increasingly abandoning the restrictions set in the agreement on its nuclear operation, most recently preparing to build advanced centrifuges at Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz.
The strategy was criticised as “deeply worrying” by France, Germany and Britain last week, collectively known as the “E3”. Meanwhile the killing of influential Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh last month has heightened tensions in the region, with Iran blaming Israel for the killing.
In the aftermath of the death of Fakhrizadeh, Iranian MPs passed a bill calling for further extension of Iran’s nuclear programme and for the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency watchdog to suspend inspections of nuclear facilities (IAEA).
Rouhani said that as soon as other parties meet their obligations, Iran is prepared to return to compliance with the agreement. President-elect Biden has said he is prepared to return to the agreement, but has shared nothing more on the subject about the upcoming US plan.