A spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation said that his country would go ahead and breach the nuclear pact if Europe did not step in to protect Tehran from sanctions. It comes after Iran said last month that they would stop complying fully with the landmark nuclear deal following the US’ decision to pull out a year earlier. Tehran gave European countries involved a 60-day deadline to take steps to safeguard Iran’s economy.
Atomic agency spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said: “Iran’s two-month deadline to remaining signatories of the JCPOA (nuclear deal) cannot be extended, and the second phase will be implemented exactly as planned.”
In addition, oil minister Bijan Zanganeh accused Europe of failing to play ball with Tehran by choosing to buy American oil instead of importing it from Iran.
He added: “The Europeans are not cooperating to buy oil.”
While not commenting explicitly on the nuclear deal, France and Germany waded into the conversation in an attempt to de-escalate tensions between the US and Iran.
The relationship between the two countries has fractured significantly since Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal last May.
Since then, Iran has slowly stopped complying with the deal, which also has several European signatories.
Experts suggest that the deal – which thawed relations between the two countries when it was agreed in 2015 – was a significant factor in preventing conflict between the US and Iran.
Speaking about the risk of war, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said: “We want to unify our efforts so that there is a de-escalation process that starts.
“There is still time and we hope all the actors show more calm. There is still time, but only a little time.”
Meanwhile, his German counterpart – Heiko Maas – added: “The risk of war in the Gulf has not been averted.
“We need to do everything so that it doesn’t come to this. That’s why we are talking to all sides.
“I was in Iran and we are also talking with the Americans. We need to de-escalate through dialogue.
“It is a time of ‘diplomacy first’ and that’s what we are committed to.”
The initial agreement prevented Iran from enriching their stockpile past 4 percent so there was no danger of Tehran possessing ‘weapons-grade’ uranium.
Combined with the US accusing Tehran of being behind the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, many fear that conflict between the two is imminent.
And with Iranian claims that they dealt a “wide-reaching blow” to US intelligence by dismantling an alleged CIA network inside the country yesterday, European nations may feel obliged to act as peacemakers in a volatile situation.