The leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom issued a joint statement on Sunday, urging Iran to “return to full compliance with its commitments” under the 2015 nuclear agreement.
“We have expressed our deep concern at the actions taken by Iran in violation of its commitments since July 2019. These actions must be reversed,” read the statement by the leaders of the three European signatories of the deal.
The statement comes after Tehran said it would further scale back its commitments under the nuclear deal, also known as the JCPOA, after the U.S. killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani earlier this month. Tensions between Tehran and the West have been further heightened since then by Iran’s launch of missiles against Iraqi airbases housing U.S. troops, and the downing of a Ukrainian plane, which Iran says was accidental.
Washington’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal in 2018 is widely seen as the starting point in a series of events that led to the current hostilities. U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration have argued that the nuclear deal, under which Iran agreed to curtail its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, merely gave the Iranian regime added financing and political breathing space to continue a policy of military meddling throughout the Middle East.
The statement Sunday from France’s Emmanuel Macron, Britain’s Boris Johnson and Germany’s Angela Merkel reiterated their “regret” that Trump had pulled the U.S. out of the nuclear deal. It also said that “recent events have highlighted Iran’s destabilising role in the region,” but called for de-escalation over increased violence.
“We must address — through diplomacy and in a meaningful way — shared concerns about Iran’s destabilizing regional activities, including those linked to its missile programme,” the statement said.
“We reiterate our readiness to continue our engagement for de-escalation and stability in the region.”
They added: “Today, our message is clear: we remain committed to the JCPoA and to preserving it; we urge Iran to reverse all measures inconsistent with the agreement and return to full compliance; we call on Iran to refrain from further violent action or proliferation; and we remain ready to engage with Iran on this agenda in order to preserve the stability of the region.”