U.S. President Donald Trump has reiterated that "dropping sanctions against Iran is not going to happen at this time."
Trump made the remark during a telephone conversation with his French Counterpart President Emmanuel Macron, Special assistant to the President of and white House deputy press secretary Judd Deere tweeted on Thursday August 5.
Deere added that the two Presidents agreed it was imperative "to curb Iran's actions threatening freedom of navigation and commerce in the Persian Gulf."
The news about Trump's remarks came on the same day that Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in a letter to EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini notified her of the start of Iran's "third step" in reducing its nuclear commitments under the 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers.
According to the Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi, Zarif said in the letter: "From today on, Iran will stop all of its commitments in the area of nuclear research and development as a consequence of U.S. pull-out from the JCPOA and re-imposing sanctions on Iran, and the EU-3's inability to fulfil their obligations under the deal."
The EU-3 are the United Kingdom, France and Germany. Iran has been pressuring the European powers to come up with a system to help Iran sell oil and conduct trade despite U.S. sanctions. France has proposed an arrangement of $15 billion dollars in “credits” to Iran, but its realization depends on U.S. agreement, meaning suspension of some sanctions.
However, Zarif added: "Iran is prepared to continue talks with the remaining parties in the JCPOA and in case the other sides fulfil all of their obligations, Iran will return to full implementation of the terms of the agreement."
Reacting to Iran's measure, a French Foreign Ministry official has said: "Iran should avoid any measure that would be in violation of its commitments."
The British Foreign Office has also described the suspension of Iran's nuclear commitments "a source for deep concern."
Meanwhile, EU officials warned Iran against "actions that could undermine the nuclear agreement."
In its first two steps in reducing its nuclear commitments since May 8, the anniversary of the U.S. pull-out from the nuclear agreement, Iran exceeded the level of enrichment agreed in the agreement as well as the extent of its Enriched Uranium stockpile.
In both cases, Europe has warned Iran that the measure could undermine the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, also called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).