European powers urge dialogue, end to escalation in Iran nuclear crisis

Paris (AFP) –


Three key European powers on Sunday called for dialogue and an end to the escalation over Iran's nuclear programme, as tensions further intensified between Tehran and the United States.

The statement by the leaders of Britain, France and Germany expressed concern that the 2015 deal over Iran's nuclear programme risked further unravelling but said it was up to Tehran to ensure the deal survived.

"We believe the time has come to act responsibly and seek a path to stop the escalation of tensions and resume dialogue," said the English-language version of the statement issued by the Elysee.

The statement was published after President Emmanuel Macron hosted German Chancellor Angela Merkel and senior British cabinet minister David Lidington at the annual Bastille Day parade in Paris.

"The risks are such that it is necessary for all stakeholders to pause and consider the possible consequences of their actions," it added.

The three European powers were among the key players in the 2015 deal (known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) on Iran's nuclear programme

But US President Donald Trump in 2018 announced Washington was pulling out of the deal, to the dismay of its European allies.

Angered that its beleaguered economy is not receiving the sanctions relief it believes was promised under the deal, Iran has intensified its sensitive uranium enrichment work, prompting stern warnings from Washington.

"We are concerned by the risk that the JCPOA further unravels under the strain of sanctions imposed by the United States and following Iran's decision to no longer implement several of the central provisions of the agreement," said the three European powers.

"We are extremely concerned by Iran's decision to stockpile and enrich uranium in excess of authorised limits," it added, also warning over "the deterioration of the security in the region."

The three powers said they would continue to support the nuclear deal but said its implementation "was contingent on Iran?s full compliance."

"We strongly urge Iran to reverse its recent decisions in this regard," the statement said.