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The nuclear agreement signed in 2015 by six world powers to prevent Iran from obtaining the atomic bomb began to crumble when the US president, Donald Trump, left him unilaterally a year and a half ago. Since then, the European Union has struggled to save the remains, an almost impossible mission for the extraterritorial sanctions imposed by the United States to any company that operates in Iran. The escalation of tension over the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani at the hands of Washington and the decision of Tehran, announced in early January, to skip the limits of uranium enrichment has tipped the pact.

The United Kingdom, France and Germany – its three European guarantors – announced Tuesday that they activate the dispute resolution mechanism provided for in the nuclear agreement before Iran's repeated breaches. This is the first step to reimpose economic sanctions on Tehran if it does not rectify, although Europeans continue to insist that their will is to save the pact. "Our three countries are not joining a campaign to impose maximum pressure against Iran", they say in a joint statement to mark distances with Trump.

However, Paris, London and Berlin make it clear that "Iran's actions are incompatible with the provisions of the nuclear agreement and they have increasingly serious and non-reversible consequences in terms of proliferation. "The European Union has already launched several warnings both in November and December last year, but the Tehran regime has turned a deaf ear and continues to skip its commitments.

"Therefore we have no other alternative, taking into account the actions of Iran, which today record our concern that Iran is not fulfilling its commitments to the nuclear agreement (JCPOA) and refer the matter to the joint commission provided for in the dispute resolution mechanism ", says the statement signed by the three powers of the EU.

The head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell

François Lenoir / Reuters

"We do not accept the argument that Iran has the right to reduce compliance with the nuclear agreement (JCPOA, for its acronym in English). Contrary to what he claims in his statements, Iran has never triggered the dispute resolution mechanism and has no legal basis to stop applying the provisions of the agreement"continues the text.

The United Kingdom, Germany and France argue that their ultimate goal is not sanctions but "solve the impasse through a constructive diplomatic dialogue, preserving the agreement and remaining within its framework. "They also thank the other two signatories of the pact, China and Russia, for their willingness to cooperate with the EU on these goals.

The EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Josep BorrellHe explained that he will be in charge of supervising the work of the dispute resolution mechanism. Borrell ask all parties to work in "good faith" and has also emphasized the need to save the nuclear agreement with Iran.

"The nuclear agreement with Iran is a significant achievement of a multilateral diplomacy sustained after years of negotiations. In light of the dangerous escalation of tension that is taking place in the Middle East, JCPOA preservation is now more important than ever", highlighted the head of EU diplomacy in a statement.