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'YOU? Really?': Iran's Zarif scorns EU warning over nuclear deal

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'YOU? Really?': Iran's Zarif scorns EU warning over nuclear deal
FILE PHOTO: Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif reacts during a news conference with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (not pictured) after their meeting in Moscow, Russia, September 2, 2019. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina   -   Copyright  Evgenia Novozhenina(Reuters)
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DUBAI (Reuters) – Europeans have failed to fulfil their own commitments to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Tuesday, in response to a warning by the EU that urged Tehran to stick to the pact or face consequences.

European countries have been trying to persuade Tehran to stick to the deal, under which it agreed to curbs on its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions, despite a decision last year by U.S. President Donald Trump to abandon it.

Iran has long blamed the Europeans for failing to provide the economic benefits it was meant to receive under the deal, known as the JCPOA, and has begun steps to reduce commitments, including producing more enriched uranium than allowed.

Last week Iran resumed enrichment at its underground Fordow nuclear facility, banned under the deal.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and European parties to the deal – Britain, France and Germany – issued a statement on Monday urging Tehran to comply with the accord or face action which could include sanctions.

“To my EU/E3 Colleagues: 1. ‘Fully upheld commitments under JCPOAYOU? Really? Just show ONE that you’ve upheld in the last 18 months. 2. Iran triggered-& exhausted-dispute resolution mechanism while you were procrastinating. We’re now using para36 remedies,” Zarif tweeted.

Iran says paragraph 36 of the deal allows it to reduce its commitments because other signatories are not complying. The Europeans dispute this.

Some Iranian officials have warned that reimposition of EU and U.N. sanctions would be a red line that would cause the deal to collapse.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported on Monday that Iran is enriching uranium at the Fordow site and rapidly accelerating enrichment more broadly.

Iran says it will further overstep the deal’s limits in January if Britain, France and Germany fail to shield its economy from U.S. penalties that have reduced its oil exports by more than 80% since a year ago.

Washington says it wants to negotiate a more sweeping deal aimed at further curbing Iran’s nuclear work, halting its ballistic missile programme and limiting its meddling in other countries in the Middle East.

Iran has rejected any negotiations as long as the United States is not complying with the deal.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Peter Graff)

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