Europe Steps Up JCPOA Salvage Efforts

Europe Steps Up JCPOA Salvage Efforts Europe Steps Up JCPOA Salvage Efforts

The European Union is expanding its efforts to save the 2015 nuclear deal with two diplomats from the bloc planning visits to Tehran this weekend to pursue the same agenda.
The Dutch and Austrian foreign ministers are expected to discuss with top Iranian officials solutions to the current standoff.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in meetings with the Netherland's Stef Blok and Austria's Alexander Schallenberg, Iran will reiterate its criticism of "Europe's inaction toward its commitments under the nuclear deal and its passive approach to the United State's extraterritorial jurisdiction", ISNA reported.
The hard-won nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is at risk of total collapse as the United States has unilaterally exited and reimposed sanctions. 
Iran was forced to reduce its compliance because it no longer enjoyed the benefits promised under the deal due to the American sanctions and the European parties' inability to make up for them.
Tehran announced that all nuclear steps are immediately reversible once the country's economic concerns are addressed.
While their halfhearted efforts to protect Iran's economy remained fruitless, European countries kept urging Iran to return to full compliance after each step away from JCPOA obligations.
Following the final phase of the plan, France, Germany and Britain referred the issue to the deal's Joint Commission under the dispute resolution mechanism that could result in the restoration of global sanctions on Iran.
They, however, extended the mechanism's timeline indefinitely in a gesture of good faith to prevent the case from reaching the United Nations Security Council, which could spell the end of the deal.
The EU later initiated diplomatic efforts to reach an agreement with Iran.
The Dutch diplomat is also pursuing a bilateral agenda for regular political consultations in his trip, which is scheduled for Feb 21-22.



‘European Message’

The Austrian foreign minister is also taking a "European message" to Tehran on Saturday and Sunday, he said on Wednesday, after a meeting with his German counterpart, Heiko Maas, and the EU Foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell.
Schallenberg said that "it is also important ... to repeat our points—it's not enough to have said them once," AP reported.
Although Austria is not part of the nuclear agreement, the deal was negotiated in large part in Vienna.
Borrell had also held meetings with Iranian officials in Tehran in early February in which he conveyed the EU's strong commitment to preserve the nuclear deal.
Europe has taken a number of initiatives to support Iran's economy, including the financial mechanism known as INSTEX that aims to facilitate trade with Iran, but has remained on paper so far. 
Borrell said during his visit to Tehran that INSTEX has not been able to produce significant transactions, but announced later that it would try to solve the problems through the mechanism. 
He later underlined the need to ensure Iran's benefits to prevent the landmark deal from falling apart.  
"If we want the Iran nuclear deal to survive, we need to ensure that Iran benefits if it returns to full compliance," he wrote in a recent article. 

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