European sides not invoking JCPOA dispute mechanism
European signatories of the nuclear deal with Iran known as JCPOA did not invoke a trigger mechanism capable of re-imposing anti-Iran sanctions by the United Nations, a Chinese envoy said.
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Fu Cong, director general of the Department of Arms Control of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, made the remarks while speaking to reporters after a three-hour-long meeting of the Joint Commission on the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal in Vienna on Friday.
"All countries need to refrain from taking actions that further complicate the situation," he said.
"In our view there is an element of automaticity into this and we can't be sure that countries can keep this process under control. It could aggravate tensions," he added.
However, the Chinese diplomat noted that all parties called on Iran to remain in full compliance of the JCPOA.
Representatives from Iran and the five remaining signatories to the landmark nuclear deal -- Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China -- as well as the European Union attended the Friday meeting to discuss ways to save the accord.
It was the first meeting by the remaining parties to the JCPOA since July. In May 2018, US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled his country out of the international deal, in defiance of global criticism, and later re-imposed the sanctions that had been lifted against Tehran as part of the agreement.
In response to the move, Tehran has so far rowed back on its nuclear commitments four times in compliance with Articles 26 and 36, but stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the mutual trade from the sanctions.
However, European members since last month have begun raising the possibility of triggering the JCPOA’s “dispute resolution mechanism,” which is also known as the trigger mechanism, and whose activation can lead to the return of the UN sanctions on Iran.
Ahead of the Vienna meeting, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif referred to a statement issued by Washington to refute allegations made by European signatories of the JCPOA claiming that Iran's missile activities have violated the deal.
"Brian Hook (US Special Representative for Iran) has given our E3 JCPOA partners a timely reminder, openly admitting that missile testing is NOT prohibited in Security Council Resolution 2231," the foreign minister said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi said Tehran will continue to scale back its commitments under the nuclear deal until it can receive the accord’s economic benefits.
Speaking to reporters after the talks, Araqchi, who led the Iranian negotiating team to the Vienna talks, said all the parties have consensus that utmost efforts should be made to keep the JCPOA alive.
He added that all participants at the Friday’s session believed that the US policies, including its so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran, are the root cause of the existing problems regarding the JCPOA.
All the parties also noted that there is no hope for the JCPOA to survive if Iran is deprived of the deal's benefits, and therefore stressed the importance of finding a solution in this regard, the senior Iranian diplomat said.
Araqchi further pointed to his first meeting with Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and described the meeting as "good and useful."
He also expressed satisfaction with the new IAEA chief’s resolve to fulfill his duties "in a quite professional atmosphere without political pressure which usually exists in the Board of Governors."