IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL: EUROPEAN POWERS REJECT ‘ULTIMATUMS’

European powers have said they remain committed to the Iran nuclear deal but that they “reject any ultimatums” from Tehran to prevent its collapse.

Iran announced on Wednesday that it had suspended two commitments under the 2015 accord in response to the economic sanctions the US reimposed last year.

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It also threatened to step up uranium enrichment if it was not shielded from the sanctions’ effects within 60 days.

The EU, UK, France and Germany noted “with great concern” Iran’s move.

Under the nuclear deal, which is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran agreed to limit its nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief.

But a year ago US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal, saying it was “horribly one-sided” and needed to be renegotiated, and began reinstating sanctions. In November, those targeting Iran’s oil and financial sectors took effect.

Iran’s economy is now sliding towards a deep recession, the value of its currency has dropped to record lows, and its annual inflation rate has quadrupled.

What has Iran done and why?

Under the JCPOA, Iran agreed to limit its enrichment of uranium, which can be used to make reactor fuel but also nuclear weapons, and to sell surplus stocks.

It also said it would redesign a heavy-water nuclear reactor at Arak, whose spent fuel would contain plutonium suitable for a bomb, and sell any surplus heavy water.

The country will also halt the redesign of the Arak heavy-water reactor.

“The Iranian people and the world should know that today is not the end of the JCPOA,” Mr Rouhani said. “These are actions in line with the JCPOA.”

How have European powers responded?

The EU’s foreign policy chief and the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the UK stressed that  which is in the security interest of all”.

“We strongly urge Iran to continue to implement its commitments under the JCPOA in full as it has done until now and to refrain from any escalatory steps,” a joint statement issued on Thursday said.

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