European countriess to trigger Iran nuclear deal dispute mechanism

China the biggest buyer of Gulf oil is navigating a challenging situation as tensions simmer between the US and Iran

China the biggest buyer of Gulf oil is navigating a challenging situation as tensions simmer between the US and Iran

European powers have triggered a dispute mechanism over the nuclear deal with Iran, after the country took a further step back from its commitments.

Donald Trump has been pressing Europe to leave the nuclear deal ever since he unilaterally took the USA out of deal in May 2018, and the White House will be delighted that its sustained pressure has paid off.

Macron, Merkel and Johnson have been trying to save the JCPOA, which restricted Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief after the USA withdrew from it in May 2018 and Tehran gradually rolled back its commitments.

The six signatories to the deal, Iran, Russia, China and the European Union states, France Germany and the United Kingdom, will now meet at political director level in Vienna to hear formally that Iran's steps away from the deal have required the European Union to trigger the deal's elaborate dispute resolution mechanism.

The process can ultimately lead to a "snapback" - the reimposition of sanctions in place under previous United Nations resolutions.

They are keen for it not to escalate to the stage where global sanctions are reintroduced.

Instead the move is meant to buy time for Iran and the U.S. to get back on some kind of diplomatic track to resolve their differences, which is the only way to save the deal and in the view of the E3 (UK, France and Germany) prevent an Iranian bomb.

"At one point we have to show our credibility", said one diplomat referring to Iran's recent nuclear decisions.

On 8 January Iran accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner while its forces were on high alert following strikes on USA targets.

Protests erupted across Iran for a second day on Sunday (12 January), increasing pressure on the Islamic Republic's leadership after it admitted its military shot down a Ukrainian airliner by accident, despite days of denials that Iranian forces were to blame.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Iran's repeated violations of the deal "could not go unanswered any longer". Tehran says it will not renegotiate as long as United States sanctions are in place. "Let's work together to replace the JCPOA and get the Trump deal instead", Johnson told the BBC.

He said: "If we're going to get rid of it, let's replace it and let's replace it with the Trump deal..."

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