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Iran Says A Reported European Threat To Reimpose Sanctions 'Is Dead' On Arrival

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend a meeting among remaining parties to the Iran nuclear deal at United Nations headquarters in New York, September 25, 2019

Iran says a reported European Union threat to drop the 2015 nuclear deal and reimpose previous sanctions is a joke and dead on arrival.

Speaking to reporters at his weekly press conference on Monday, September 30, Abbas Mousavi referred to a report from The Guardian saying that the European Union has privately warned the Islamic Republic that it might be forced to start dropping the JCPOA in November if Tehran goes ahead with its threat to take new steps away from the deal. Mousavi quipped that "The so-called 'snapback' mechanism for the renewal of the UN sanctions on Iran is already dead."

From the time Tehran agreed to the deal, Mousavi argued, "Iran has been allowed to take retaliatory measures under Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA in case the other parties contravene the JCPOA."

Furthermore, Mousavi asserted, "It would be a ridiculous and wrong measure for them (Europeans) to retaliate in response to our retaliatory measures, and we advise them not to do so."

On September 27, the Guardian reported that the "European Union has privately warned Iran that it will be forced to start withdrawing from the nuclear deal in November if Tehran goes ahead with its threat to take new steps away from the deal."

Iran has already taken three separate calculated steps toward dropping the deal and has warned its Europe that it will take a fourth on November 7, unless the U.S. lifts economic sanctions imposed on Tehran.

"The warning to Iran, pre-agreed by the three EU signatories to the 2015 deal, was made at a meeting on Wednesday, and makes clear that the agreement is now on life support," the Guardian reported.

However, while he insisted that he is not aware of the Europeans threat, Mousavi said, "If it means that they want to use the 'reduction mechanism,' it would be illegal. If they want to implement the 'snapback mechanism,' such a measure is already dead because we had expected compensatory, not retaliatory measures for ourselves as well as for them in the JCPOA," the spokesperson said.

Mousavi also explained that the other parties to the deal could have resorted to the snapback mechanism only if Iran had violated the JCPOA.

Asked about the possibility of the JCPOA case being sent to the UN Security Council, Mousavi reiterated that such a plan is already dead, stressing that the EU cannot use the snapback mechanism on legal or judicial grounds.

It seems Iran and the EU are facing a dilemma that might evolve into a "dispute."

Based on the JCPOA, once the deal's dispute mechanism is triggered, all parties have thirty days to prove significant non-compliance, and if necessary, a world-wide sanctions snapback occurs.

However, the Islamic Republic Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif has begged to differ.

"The snapback mechanism does not apply to Iran at all," Zarif said last July, adding that Tehran has only referred to the JCPOA terms that allow for compensation.

"Our reasoning is absolutely clear, but the Europeans are making instrumental use (of the JCPOA), as they themselves know that this mechanism has no credibility and have announced that (their recent moves) do not mean using the snapback mechanism," he insisted.

In the meantime, the other two remaining parties to the JCPOA, China, and Russia, have so far watched the developments as passive bystanders.