PARIS -- Three European Union (EU) countries on Tuesday (January 14) said they were launching a dispute mechanism under the 2015 nuclear deal with the Iranian regime after accusing Tehran of repeated violations.
The move by Britain, France and Germany comes as tensions soar between the West and the Iranian regime following the killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in a US strike in Baghdad January 3 and the belated admission by Tehran -- three days after the fact -- that it had accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner on January 8.
The 2015 nuclear deal -- known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) -- has a provision that allows a party to claim significant non-compliance by another party before a joint commission.
If the issue is not resolved at the joint commission, it then goes to an advisory board and eventually to the United Nations Security Council.
The foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany said Tehran had been progressively scaling back its commitments under the deal and defying key restrictions on its nuclear programme since May last year.
"We have therefore been left with no choice, given Iran's actions" to begin the dispute process, Tuesday's statement said, adding Tehran was not "meeting its commitments".
Determination to preserve deal
But the three powers said they "once again express our commitment" to the deal -- which the United States withdrew from in 2018 -- and expressed "determination to work with all participants to preserve it".
"Given recent events, it is all the more important that we do not add a nuclear proliferation crisis to the current escalation threatening the whole region," the statement added.
"Our hope is to bring Iran back into full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA."
The accord aimed to restrict Tehran's nuclear ambitions -- which Western powers feared were aimed at developing atomic weapons -- in return for sanctions relief.