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EU Calls For Urgent Meeting Of JCPOA Commission To Discuss Iran's Nuclear Crisis

File photo - From left, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

European signatories of the Iran nuclear deal, France, Germany and the United Kingdom say they are "deeply worried" about Tehran’s decision to increase uranium enrichment level and have called for an urgent meeting of the JCPOA Commission.

The EU trio have said in a joint statement with the European Union that they are deeply concerned about Iran breaching the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, also called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

In the meantime, French President has sent a special envoy to Tehran to meet with Iran's Security Chief Ali Shamkhani on Wednesday to discuss Europe's concerns about the implications of the suspension of Iran's commitments under the JCPOA.

Iran in this week violated the 3.67 percent enrichment limit that was agreed in the 2015 accord and has said that it will boost within 50 days its stockpile of enriched Uranium beyond the 300 kilograms allowed by JCPOA.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization has threatened that "there is nothing to stop Iran from enriching Uranium at 20 percent level," causing grave concern among JCPOA signatories and regional players including Israel.

On Tuesday, the board of governors of UN nuclear watchdog IAEA confirmed that Iran has gone beyond the agreed 3.67 percent level of enrichment.

In their statement, the European powers have said that Iran should reverse its action immediately and remain in compliance with the JCPOA, as Tehran has said that it is willing to remain in the deal if its condition of trade relations with Europe is met.

The EU trio have called for an immediate meeting of the JCPOA Commission. Russia and China are also members of the commission. On Monday, China blamed U.S. pressures for Iran's new stances and Russia broke its silence on Tuesday, saying that Europe should make sure that Iran benefits from the nuclear deal with the West.

European governments have not banned anyone from trading with Iran, but have also shied away from actively facilitating mechanisms that would in effect break U.S. sanctions. Large companies however are reluctant to trade with Iran not to endanger their business relation with the more lucrative U.S. market.

The JCPOA Commission usually meets once in every three months with its remaining members after the United States left the JCPOA in May 2018. Its latest meeting was held in Vienna last week and discussed finalizing the financial mechanism that is meant to help Iran handle international payments in spite of U.S. sanctions on its international banking.

Before the EU statement was issued on Tuesday, Maja Kocijančič, the spokesperson for EU Foreign Policy Chief told reporters, "We call on Iran not to take any further steps that would weaken the JCPOA and reverse all of its actions that are not consistent with the JCPOA."

She conveyed the same message also on Sunday and Monday, insisting that Iran should end violating the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal.

At the same time, there are diplomatic moves under way to save the JCPOA and bring about some sort of reconciliation between Iran and the United States, as tensions between the two countries during recent weeks has seriously endangered the security of the region.

French President Emmanuel Macron has discussed the issue over the phone with the Presidents of Iran and the United States during recent days, further to sending an envoy to Tehran to hold talks with the Islamic Republic officials.

Iran insists that it should benefit from the economic privileges of the JCPOA and has given the EU trio 60 days to fulfil their obligations under the JCPOA, threatening that otherwise, it will take what it calls the third step, literally boosting enrichment to 20 percent.

In a sense, Iran’s argument is rhetorical because the EU has lifted sanctions after Iran agreed to the nuclear deal. In fact it can be argued, Europe is not breaking its commitments to the deal, rather simply it is not going out of its way to help Iran against U.S. sanctions.