TEHRAN – Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday that three European countries were succumbing to tariff threats from the United States in raising a dispute mechanism in a landmark multilateral agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program.
Zarif wrote on Twitter that France, the United Kingdom and Germany had “sold out remnants” of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed between Iran and the six world powers in 2015.
“Appeasement confirmed,” Zarif said in his tweet, posted alongside a screenshot of a Washington Post report on how US President Donald Trump allegedly threatened to impose 25 percent tariffs on vehicles imported from the European countries if they did not denounce Iran for violating the pact.
“It won’t work my friends. You only whet his (Trump’s) appetite. Remember your high school bully?” Zarif wrote.
“If you want to sell your integrity, go ahead. But do not assume high moral/legal ground. You don’t have it,” he added.
According to The Washington Post, which cited European officials, the US government threatened the European countries with tariffs if they didn’t trigger the dispute resolution mechanism in the nuclear deal with Iran.
The threat was made a week before Germany, France and the UK set off the mechanism alleging that Iran’s non-compliance with the nuclear agreement was unacceptable.
The three European countries triggered the dispute mechanism on Tuesday, responding to Iran’s withdrawal from its commitments.
The Iranian foreign minister on Wednesday argued that Tehran had been the first to fall back on the mechanism after the US unilaterally abandoned it in 2018.
He also expressed doubts over the possibility of reaching a fresh agreement with Washington.
The JCPOA is at the risk of falling apart since the US withdrew from it and re-imposed sanctions on Iran as the pact limited Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the easing of the international economic embargo.
Iran gradually began reducing its compliance with the agreement in May last year after it failed to get the other signatories (Russia, China, France, UK and Germany) to counter the US sanctions.
On Jan.5, Tehran announced that it would no longer abide by any of the limits on enriching uranium but would maintain its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, just as before.
That meant that Tehran would continue allowing inspections of its nuclear facilities by experts from the global nuclear watchdog.