PARIS, May 7 (Reuters)
Europe would have to reimpose sanctions on Iran if Tehran reneged on parts of the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, a French presidency source said on Tuesday.
Iran's state-run IRIB news agency reported on Monday that Tehran would restart part of its halted nuclear programme in response to the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, but added Tehran does not plan to pull out of the agreement. Iran's president is due to speak on Wednesday.
"We do not want Tehran to announce tomorrow actions that would violate the nuclear agreement, because in this case we Europeans would be obliged to reimpose sanctions as per the terms of the agreement," the source said. "We don't want that and we hope that the Iranians will not make this decision."
France, Germany and Britain, the European signatories to the agreement that lifted sanctions against Tehran in exchange for restrictions on Iran's atomic activities, have scrambled to save the deal amid U.S. efforts to isolate Tehran since it announced its withdrawal a year ago.
However, the three have repeatedly warned Iran that it must comply with all aspects of the deal and most importantly the elements related to nuclear activity.
Those restrictions have increased the time Iran would need to build a nuclear bomb if it chose to do so. The United States and the U.N. nuclear watchdog believe Iran had a nuclear weapons programme that it abandoned. Iran denies ever having had one.
"We sent messages to Tehran to say that we were determined to implement the agreement, that we really wanted them to stay in this agreement even though we took into account the complexity of the situation and passed on the same messages to our American allies," the French source said.
"Tomorrow, depending on what is in the statement from Tehran, at this stage what we're expecting is a collective European reaction but as we do not yet know exactly what will be in it, we are preparing for different eventualities."