British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has highlighted the difference between UK and U.S. officials' opinions about Iran and the nuclear deal and how to handle the Iranian crisis.
Speaking in Brussels on July 15 ahead of a meeting with EU foreign ministers, Hunt said that there is still "a small window" to save the nuclear deal with Iran, also called the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA).
Hunt expressed concern over the reduction of Iran's commitment to the deal, as Tehran has recently exceeded 3.67 percent uranium enrichment and a 300-kilogram enriched uranium stockpile, levels that breach JCPOA.
Hunt told reporters in Brussels that Iran is still a year away from making a nuclear bomb, adding that there is still a small chance to save the nuclear deal with Tehran.
According to the Times newspaper, Hunt had planned to send an FCO official to take part in the meeting in Brussels but later decided to attend in person to address the dangers in the way of continuing the nuclear deal.
Reports from Brussels say that the EU foreign ministers’ meeting will focus on finding a way to convince Iran and the United States to reduce tensions and begin negotiations.
In another development, on July 14 leaders of the EU trio still remaining in the nuclear deal with Iran -- France, Germany, and the United Kingdom -- called for dialogue to end tensions over Iran's nuclear program.
The statement also called for the resumption of talks with Iran over its nuclear program and its obligations to JCPOA, and demanded a responsible approach to reduce tensions.
Meanwhile, EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said in Baghdad on July 12 that Europe supports Iraq's initiative to hold a conference represented by regional countries to discuss the tensions between Tehran and Washington.
The United States withdrew from JCPOA in May 2018 and imposed crippling sanctions on Iran. Since then, Iran has criticized Europe for not doing enough to save the nuclear deal by guaranteeing Iran's interest.
Subsequently, Iran has reduced some of its commitments to JCPOA in protest to what it calls Europe's "inaction."
On July 13, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called Iran's move "a bad reaction to a bad decision."
Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on July 14 that Iran believes in negotiations and conditioned talks with the United States to "lift the sanctions, end economic pressures, and return to the nuclear deal with Iran."
Reacting to Rouhani's statement, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Washington Post that Rouhani’s offer was “the same offer that he offered to John F. Kerry and Barack Obama.”
Dismissing Rouhani's offer, Pompeo added, “President Trump will obviously make the final decision. But this is a path that the previous administration had gone down and it led to the JCPOA, which this administration, President Trump and I both believe was a disaster.”