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Rouhani said the country will no longer fulfill two parts of the agreement: the sale of enriched uranium and heavy water.
The Iranian president then gave a kind of ultimatum to the European powers plus Russia and China to fulfill their financial commitments and those related to oil. If they do, Iran will resume all its commitments.
If, on the other hand, they do not comply, Rouhani said the country will begin to increase uranium enrichment and complete Arak’s heavy water reactor.
However, the Iranian president said: “We will not abandon the agreement Iranian society and the whole world should know that. Today is not the end of JCPOA .This is a new step within the JCPOA”.
“The agreement is still standing (…) You need surgery,” he said.
However, Rouhani also warned that if the five powers involved decide to refer the issue of reducing nuclear commitments to the UN Security Council – which can lead to sanctions – they will face a “strong response”.
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2 – What has been the reaction to Rouhani’s words?
Both Russia and China blamed Washington for the current situation.
The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, urged all involved to fulfill their obligations and Beijing asked to act with restraint and prioritize the dialogue.
In Europe, France and Germany expressed their willingness to keep the nuclear agreement in force, but warned Iran against violating the terms of the agreement.
“Our position remains that we support the agreement, especially to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” said German Chancellor Heiko Maas, noting that the pact is “crucial” for the security of Europe.
France’s Defense Minister, Florence Parly, said they wanted to keep the nuclear deal intact, but said Iran’s withdrawal from its commitments could lead to sanctions.
On Wednesday, the United States said that “very soon” it will announce new sanctions against Iran and warned Europe against the repercussions of giving in to Iranian “blackmail”.
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3- Why is Europe’s role crucial?
In January, the United Kingdom, Germany and France – which opposed the Trump decision – put in place a new payment mechanism to allow it to trade with Iran despite US sanctions.
The system, known as Instex, is supposed to focus on “legitimate trade” of the products most needed by Iranians, such as food, and pharmaceutical and consumer products not subject to sanctions.
Oil, Iran’s main source of foreign trade, is currently not covered by this mechanism, and experts believe that the payment system has done little to counteract the impact of US sanctions.
As explained by the BBC journalist Jonathan Marcus, Europe is now facing a crossroads.
“Iran seeks to achieve a difficult balance: to reject some of the restrictions imposed by the JCPOA, without withdrawing from the agreement at one time,” says Marcus.
“He wants Europeans to take urgent measures to alleviate ” the country’s sanctions, which are causing “increasing damage”, he stresses.
“If that relief does not come, then Iran could reconsider its adherence to the agreement in its entirety (…) This presents the Europeans with a big dilemma: they are in the midst of the Iranians and the Trump government.” Can they continue to support the agreement? if Iran does not meet its terms one hundred percent? “
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4 – Why is the nuclear agreement in crisis?
The agreement was signed during the term of former President Barack Obama and with the arrival of Trump to the White House, the United States changed its position.
A year ago, Trump ordered the US withdrawal. of the pact when considering that it was “badly negotiated”.
“Even if Iran complies with everything, the regime would be on the verge of getting nuclear weapons in a short period of time,” he said then.
His government announced that the sanctions that were lifted by the agreement would be restored and, among other measures, designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard as a “terrorist organization.”
Since Trump’s decision, the value of the Iranian currency has fallen to record levels, the annual inflation rate has quadrupled and foreign investment has been moving away.
Despite the situation, Iran complied with the commitments of the JCPOA, according to the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
5- Where does the hostility between the United States and Iran come from?
Tensions between the United States and Iran can be traced back to the 1979 Islamic revolution, which led to the departure of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlevi, who had the support of the United States. and the United Kingdom, and gave way to the Ayatollah Rujola Khomeini regime, anti-American stance.
Since taking office in 2016, President Trump has had an especially harsh attitude toward Iran.
His government wants to renegotiate the nuclear agreement signed by his predecessor and expand the terms it includes, to undermine Iran’s missile and ballistic program, and what it considers the country’s “malicious” activities in the Middle East.