The three countries have said Iran's breaches of the 2015 nuclear deal have made it "increasingly difficult" to reduce tensions in the Middle East. Top diplomats have warned they might take action against Tehran.
Iran should "reverse all measures" inconsistent with the 2015 nuclear deal, representatives of Germany, the United Kingdom and France said on Monday, following a damning report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The international agency found that Iran is enriching uranium above the prescribed cap and has also increased its stockpile of the material above the limits set by the deal. Additionally, the IAEA confirmed Iran was once again enriching uranium at its underground Fordo facility — a site ringed by anti-aircraft guns — despite the nuclear deal calling for it to be turned into a research center.
The Fordo compound was also mentioned in the joint statement by the three European nations, with top level diplomats saying it had "potentially severe proliferation implications."
"We stand ready to continue our diplomatic efforts to create the conditions for, and to facilitate, the de-escalation of tensions in the Middle East," they said in a statement. "These efforts are however made increasingly difficult by Iran's latest actions."
Read more: Iran's youth seek sustainable economic path
Germany, France and the UK are among the major signatories of the 2015 deal, along with the United States, Russia and China. The three EU states have also been the loudest in their demands to keep the deal alive after the Trump administration pulled out in 2018.
Holding onto a deal
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas met with his French and British counterparts on Monday evening to discuss the issue in Paris.
"We still want to hold onto the deal because it's better to have one than not," Maas told reporters. "But what Iran is doing worries us enormously."
The three countries warned Tehran they might trigger a dispute settlement mechanism prescribed by the deal. Under the terms agreed in 2015, the move would start a 30-day deadline for the signatories to resolve the problem. If the issue remains unsolved, it could be directed to the UN Security Council and eventually trigger the "snapback" of sanctions lifted under the deal.
"We affirm our readiness to consider all mechanisms in the [nuclear deal] including the dispute resolution mechanism, to resolve the issues," the European states said.
Tehran claims all of its controversial steps can be reversed quickly if the remaining parties of the deal find a way to honor its terms, despite US sanctions.
dj/cmk (Reuters, AFP)