German Minister of State for European Affairs Michael Roth, right, speaks with the media as he arrives for a General Affairs Council meeting at the Europa building in Brussels, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. Top European Union officials ruled out Tuesday any renegotiation of the divorce agreement with Britain as Prime Minister Theresa May launched her fight to save her Brexit deal by lobbying leaders in Europe’s capitals. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Violating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program is unacceptable, German Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth told reporters upon arrival for a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on Monday.
“Violating the nuclear agreement is completely unacceptable for us,” he said. “As the European Union, we should speak with one voice on the matter,” Roth added.

“It is important for us to maintain dialogue and contribute to de-escalation,” the German minister pointed out. “The European Union has a special responsibility in this regard. It is in our national interest, as well as in the interest of the EU, to prevent further destabilization in the region,” Roth emphasized.

In 2015, Iran and six major powers (five member states of the United Nations Security Council — Russia, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, China and Germany) agreed on the final Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which particularly stipulated the removal of sanctions imposed on Tehran over its nuclear program.

 On May 8, 2018, US President Donald Trump announced Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. He said that old sanctions on Iran would be restored and new ones would be introduced in case Tehran attempted to pursue its nuclear ambitions. The first batch of new US sanctions on Iran took effect on August 7 and the second batch became effective on November 5. In contrast, Great Britain, Germany and France called on other participants in the deal to continue its execution. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow would seek to maintain the agreement.

On May 8, 2019, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pledged that Tehran was reducing its commitments under the JCPOA. He pointed out that the other signatories, primarily EU countries, had failed to fulfill their economic obligations under the deal, making it irrelevant. Rouhani said they had two months to return to compliance. The deadline expired on July 7. On July 8, Spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Behrouz Kamalvandi claimed that Tehran had exceeded the uranium enrichment level of 4.5%.

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