On Iran Nuke Deal Anniversary, European States Call for Dialogue
On the fourth anniversary of the completion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, Britain, France and Germany have called for renewed dialogue in a bid to salvage the 2015 accord. In a joint statement, the three, all parties to the original agreement along with the United States, Russia and China, warned that ongoing tensions in the Gulf between Shi’ite Iran and US-backed Sunni countries, in addition to the Islamic Republic’s move to increase uranium enrichment to levels exceeding JCPOA limits, were contributing to the deal’s collapse. “The risks are such that it is necessary for all stakeholders to pause and consider the possible consequences of their actions,” their statement read in part. “We believe that the time has come to act responsibly and to look for ways to stop the escalation.…” In this respect, Iran has over the past weeks allegedly planned and carried out attacks, either directly or through its proxies, on oil tankers transiting vital shipping routes, as well as on critical infrastructure in Saudi Arabia. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps also shot down an American drone that, according to US officials, had been conducting surveillance over international waters. In response, the White House has directed the Pentagon to boost the American military presence in the Middle East, with even Britain now following suit after Iranian military boats attempted to seize one of its oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. US President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in May 2018 and subsequently re-imposed crippling sanctions on Tehran that are beginning to bite – and therefore might be inducing the mullahs to lash out. The US leader has nevertheless repeatedly called for the Iranians to return to the negotiating table in hopes of forging a “better” accord, a prospect that Tehran so far has rejected.