European countries that are part of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal triggered a dispute mechanism after Iran stepped back from its commitments.
The leaders of the UK, France and Germany issued a statement saying they were “left with no choice, given Iran’s actions, but to register today our concerns that Iran is not meeting its commitments.”
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in the statement that the three European countries “could no longer leave the growing Iranian violations of the nuclear agreement unanswered.”
Maas said, “Our goal is clear: we want to preserve the accord and come to a diplomatic solution within the agreement. We will tackle this together with all partners in the agreement. We call on Iran to participate constructively in the negotiation process that is now beginning.”
The dispute mechanism gives the ministers two weeks to resolve any problems, but this can be extended if all sides agree. If needed, an advisory board will have an extra 20 days to arbitrate.
Earlier this month Iran said it ended all limits on its production of enriched uranium used to make reactor fuel and nuclear weapons.
Iran said they did this in response to sanctions that the U.S. brought back in 2018.
U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal in 2018 and reinstated sanctions against Iran in an effort to force Iran to negotiate a new nuclear deal. Trump wanted indefinite limits put on Iran’s nuclear program and a stop to Iran developing ballistic missiles. But Iran has refused to renegotiate the 2015 nuclear deal.
Since 2018, Iran has rolled back its commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal in five stages. And, after Iran’s top general was killed by a U.S. drone attack earlier this month in Iraq, Iran said it would no longer honour the commitments of limiting how many centrifuges they can develop to enrich uranium.
In 2015, Iran signed the nuclear deal with the U.S., UK, France, Russia and China so sanctions against Iran would be lifted. The 2015 deal restricted Iran from enriching uranium that is used to make reactor fuel and nuclear weapons. The deal also allowed international inspections.
With the UK, France and Germany triggering the dispute mechanism, the nuclear deal could crumble.
Last week Trump announced more sanctions against Iran. In 2018 when Trump reinstated sanctions against Iran, they caused the collapse of Iran’s oil exports, plunged the value of Iran’s currency to a record low and caused Iran’s inflation rate to skyrocket.
The sanctions caused economic hardships that triggered protests in Iran in November 2019. The Iranian government violently ended the protests that resulted in at least 208 people being killed and thousands injured, according to Amnesty International. The Iranian government denied those claims and called them “utter lies.”
According to Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), Iran was producing about 3.8 billion barrels of oil per day (bpd) at the start of 2018 before the U.S. sanctions. Iran was exporting about 2.3 billion bpd.
But according to Opec, by October 2019, after the U.S. imposed sanctions, Iran’s crude oil production dropped to 2.1 million bpd.
And the Iranian government estimates that its oil production will be reduced by about 70 per cent in their next fiscal year.
Iran’s inflation rate was about nine per cent in 2017 and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that Iran’s inflation rate was 30.5 per cent in 2018 and 35.7 per cent in 2019.
Iran’s Statistical Centre reported that their Consumer Price Index 12-month rate of inflation for households was at 42 per cent in October 2019.
The cost of food and beverages rose by 61 per cent a year and the price of tobacco increased by 80 per cent.
According to the Obama administration, before the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran had a stockpile of enriched uranium and about 20,000 centrifuges, which was enough to create up to 10 bombs.
-Alberta Press staff
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