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The German government says the foreign ministers of Britain, France, and Germany are meeting in Berlin on November 23 for talks focusing on the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, days after the UN's atomic watchdog said Tehran had again breached the agreement.
"Together with our partners, we strongly call on Iran to stop violating the deal and return to fulfilling all its nuclear obligations completely," a German government spokeswoman said on November 23.
The meeting between German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his British and French counterparts, Dominic Raab and Jean-Yves Le Drian, comes after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on November 18 that centrifuges in a buried part of Iran's main uranium-enrichment site at Natanz were now operational.
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The nuclear deal with world powers states that Iran can only accumulate enriched uranium with first-generation IR-1 machines and that those are the only centrifuges it can operate at its underground plant at Natanz, apparently built to withstand aerial bombardment.
But the United States withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions against Iran. In response, Iran, questioning whether the accord still holds, has breached many restrictions imposed by the deal to curb its atomic activities, including on the purity to which it enriches uranium and its stock of enriched uranium.
Other signatories to the agreement -- Russia, France, Great Britain, China, and the European Union -- insist the agreement is still valid and have urged Tehran to adhere to it.
Iranian officials have complained that the country is not benefiting economically from the agreement, under which the country significantly limited its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on November 17 said Tehran would be willing to return to full compliance with the deal if U.S. President-elect Joe Biden lifts U.S. sanctions against the country.
Biden has said he would work with the other powers involved to amend aspects of the agreement once Iran is back in compliance.
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In retaliation against the crippling sanctions imposed on Iran by the Trump administration and in anger against the lack of support from Germany, Britain and France, Iran decided to breach many restrictions imposed by the deal to curb its atomic activities.
Therefore, it is highly hypocritical by the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Britain to accuse Iran of violating the Iran nuclear deal obligations when it is the United States who violated them by withdrawing from it prompting Iran to violate its obligation under the deal.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on November 17 that Iran would be willing to return to full compliance with the deal if US President-elect Joe Biden lifts U.S. sanctions against his county.
Biden is on record saying that Trump’s "maximum pressure" policy has failed while Iran is now closer to a nuclear weapon than it was when Trump came to office.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London