European Union rejects Iran’s ultimatum over nuclear deal

European Union rejects Iran’s ultimatum over nuclear deal

The EU and major European powers - Britain, France and Germany - also said that they "note with great concern the statement made by Iran concerning its commitments" to the nuclear deal, stressing that they "reject any ultimatums" coming from Tehran.

Iran said Wednesday it had stopped respecting limits on its nuclear activities agreed under the deal with major powers until they find a way to bypass renewed USA sanctions, as Washington accused Tehran of resorting to "blackmail".

Supporters of the nuclear deal, including Trump's predecessor Barack Obama and European allies, say the pact extends the time it would take Iran to make a nuclear weapon if it chose to do so, and guarantees that it would be caught.

Macron told reporters on Thursday that "Iran must remain in this agreement and we must do everything we can to ensure that it stays in". The Europeans insist that the pact is an important pillar of regional and global security and was never meant to address those other issues.

On May 8, 2018, US President Donald Trump announced that Washington would unilaterally quit the landmark accord inked in 2015 aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear program.

China, which increased imports of Iranian crude in April, says it opposes unilateral United States sanctions against Iran and will defend the rights of its companies.

He further said that the European signatories to the deal were doing well in lip service, but they were unable to implement what they vowed.

Europe has stressed the importance of the deal - in which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear ambitions in return for sanctions relief - for its own security, and European Union president Jean-Claude Juncker said it would be on the agenda at Thursday's summit in the Romanian town of Sibiu.

"We felt the [deal] needed surgery and that the year-long sedatives have not delivered any result".

"The path we have chosen today is not the path of war, it is the path of diplomacy", Rouhani said.

Speaking ahead of an European Union summit in Romania, Macron lauded the 2015 deal curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions as "a good agreement".

Amid heated rhetoric from Tehran and Washington in recent days, Macron urged the signatories not to "get caught up in any escalation" and to "jointly watch over our collective security".

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the deal on Iran's nuclear program, was signed between Iran and six worldwide mediators (the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Russia, the United States, and France) on July 14, 2015.

The JCPOA was signed in July 2015 by Iran and the E3/EU+3 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the US - also referred to as the P5+1 - plus the European Union) and implemented in January 2016.

The EU's special trade channel, known as Instex, was proposed by Russian Federation as a barter system for Iranian oil in exchange for European goods, but it may not be operating before the end of June and its capability is limited.

As the sanctions bite, domestic pressure is increasing on Rouhani to demonstrate that Iran can still benefit from an agreement based on providing it with economic opportunities in exchange for limiting nuclear development.

On Sunday, the White House said it dispatched the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf over what it described as a new threat from Iran. More than a dozen reports have shown that Tehran is respecting it so far.

During the 2016 race, candidate Trump ran on an "America First" foreign policy and was often critical of the U.S. role as "policeman of the world", which makes a paradox out of his decision to put Bolton in such a high position.

"We aren't looking to hurt anybody", he told supporters. "That's all we want".

The European allies believe Trump's campaign to isolate the Islamic Republic plays into the hands of Tehran hardliners and undermines pragmatists within the Iranian leadership who want to open the country up to the world.

Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, blamed Europe for not fulfilling its obligations under the terms of the original deal on Thursday. Iran will resume work to enrich uranium and upgrade the Arak reactor, if the parties to the deal fail to honor their commitments.

Uranium enriched to much higher levels than Iran's current stocks can be used as the fissile core of a nuclear weapon, while heavy water is a source of plutonium, which can be used as an alternative way to produce a warhead.

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