November 28, 2019 / 11:02 AM / 10 days ago

Iran dismisses French comments about nuclear deal's dispute mechanism

FILE PHOTO: An Iranian flag flutters in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran rejects as “irresponsible” comments by France that it is seriously considering triggering a mechanism within the Iran nuclear deal that could lead to U.N. sanctions, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Thursday.

“Iran’s scaling back of its nuclear commitments was implementation of its legal rights to react to America’s illegal and unilateral exit of the deal and the European parties’ failure to fulfil their obligations,” Mousavi said in remarks quoted by state television.

“Under these circumstances, the deal does not allow triggering of the mechanism by the European parties to the deal ... such remarks by the French official are irresponsible and not constructive.”

The mechanism involves a party referring a dispute to a Joint Commission comprising Iran, Russia, China, the three European powers, and the European Union and then on to the U.N. Security Council if that commission cannot resolve it.

If the Security Council does not vote within 30 days to continue sanctions relief, sanctions in place under previous U.N. resolutions would be reimposed - known as a “snapback”.

France’s foreign minister suggested on Wednesday that Paris was seriously considering triggering the mechanism, given Tehran’s repeated breach of parts of the 2015 accord with world powers.

Under the deal, Tehran agreed to curb its sensitive nuclear work in return for lifting international sanctions. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the pact last year and reimposed sanctions on Iran. In reaction, Tehran has gradually decreased its commitments to the agreement.

Iran has said it will further decrease its nuclear commitments if Britain, France and Germany fail to shield Tehran’s economy from U.S. penalties.

Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Alex Richardson and Frances Kerry

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