Jul 14, 2019, 7:02 PM
Journalist ID: 2382
News Code: 83395615
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Anniversary of Breathless JCPOA

Tehran, July 14, IRNA - A nuclear deal between Iran and world powers that was expected to meet the interests of both sides in a win-win game is hardly breathing today at the end of fourth year of its life due to withdrawal of the US from the deal and the failure of other members to adhere to their responsibilities and subsequently the reduction of Iran's obligations.

On July 14, 2015, after 22 months of talks, Iran and the world powers reached a nuclear deal called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA); an agreement expected to terminate over a decade of divisions between the two sides and put their relations in the normal course without tension.

In the early months of the implementation of the JCPOA, Tehran's relations with the world have significantly made progress in various fields, especially in the field of trade and economic relations, and witnessed the conclusion of the largest economic agreements.

In this short period that the United States was among other members of the JCPOA, many attempts were made to kill the agreement due to the supremacy of the Republican spectrum in the presidential election and Donald Trump’s coming in to power. After months of unsuccessful attempts to force Iran to exit the JCPOA, Trump finally chose to withdraw from the deal.

On May 8,  2018, Trump officially announced the withdrawal of the United States, and subsequently imposed unilateral sanctions against Iran, which became operational in two phases. During the first phase, the dollar, rials, gold and precious metals were targeted as well as the automotive industry and aircraft sales to Iran. The second round of sanctions, which began on November 4, put the oil industry, banking, shipping, insurance, and energy sectors of Iran on the list of sanctions.

Even the exemptions that the United States had inevitably considered for eight major Iranian oil buyers were eventually abandoned following Iran's maximum pressure policy so that Iran's oil exports could reach zero; a goal that has not yet been met despite the White House's all-out efforts.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, until the first anniversary of the withdrawal of the JCPOA ( this year May), endured patience, hoping that the European allies of the United States would fulfill their obligations. But Europe's repeated unrealized pledges sufficing just political support for the JCPOA forced Iran to decrease obligations.

The spark of declining commitments came at the same time as the first anniversary of the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal at the meeting of the Supreme National Security Council, and since then, Tehran has declined its commitments on the basis of Articles 26 and 36.

Iran's first step in this direction was taken with increasing uranium reserves and on July 1, Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, announced the increase in uranium reserves, and said, "As we have already announced and as confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Tehran has crossed the level of producing 300 kilograms of enriched uranium.

Iran's second step was taken concurrent with the two-month deadline which had been set by the Supreme National Security Council for the remaining parties to fulfill the obligations. So, on the expiry of the deadline, on July 7, a news conference with the attendance of Spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araghchi and Government Spokesman Ali Rabiei was held during which a rise in uranium enrichment was stressed.

In this phase, according to a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization, Iran has crossed 4.5 percent of enrichment; an action approved by the IAEA experts. While the JCPOA has set a 3.67 percent richness for Iran's enriched uranium.

After taking the second step, Iran set a two-month deadline for the signatories and in case of failure to fulfill the demands it will take the third step; a step that is similar to that of nuclear activities in pre-JCPOA era, and Kamalvandi comments it on its details that increasing the number of centrifuges, installing IR2 and IR2M centrifuges, increasing the number of active centrifuges in the enrichment cascades and enriching 20 percent ​​are among options of step three.

On the other hand, despite the implementation of the European financial mechanism called "INSTEX", there is still no sign of its effect on Iran's economy. About two weeks ago, at the end of the twelfth meeting of the Joint Commission of the JCPOA at Vienna, a 9-paragraph statement was issued, which outlined the implementation of INSTEX.

Part of Paragraph 4 of the statement stated that France, Germany and the United Kingdom informed the members that the INSTEX was operational and available to all EU member-states, and its first transactions are being processed. The ongoing complementary cooperation will be accelerated with the Iranian parallel institutions (Iran and Europe's trade and financing mechanism).

Many experts believe that recent tensions between Iran and the United States have acted as a driving force for Europeans; tensions that, if exacerbated and continued, not only the JCPPA, but will endanger the security of the region and trans-region. Hence, during the visit of various Union officials to Iran, such as the visit of German Foreign Minister Heiku Maas and Emmanuel Bonne, diplomatic adviser to the French President, Tehran-Washington disagreements were among the issues discussed.

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