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Iran ready to unleash 3rd nuclear step if EU fails again

Iran has warned the UK, France and Germany -- the three European signatories of the 2015 nuclear deal – that it will not hesitate to take the third step in reducing its commitments under the agreement if they once again fail to meet its demands.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Monday diplomatic efforts to save the agreement – known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – is underway but Tehran’s patience is limited.

“We are still waiting for the Europeans’ practical and concrete steps in implementing the JCPOA,” he told reporters during a daily briefing in Tehran.

The remarks came after an extraordinary meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission held in Vienna Sunday, where Tehran and the other signatories – the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany — discussed the future of the landmark accord over a year after US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal.

Ever since announcing his departure from the deal in May 2018, Trump has tried to block trade between Iranian and European companies by imposing sanctions that target a wide range of Iranian exports, including its crude oil.

The European signatories of the deal refused to follow Trump’s suit and said they would try to salvage the deal by protecting European businesses through a special payment channel, called INSTEX.

Months after unveiling their solution to the sanctions, Iran has yet to reap any benefits from it.

Frustrated with Europe’s lack of action, Iran announced earlier this year that it would cut back on its JCPOA commitments using the mechanisms defined in the deal if its demands are not met after a 60-day ultimatum that started in May.

As a first step, Iran increased its enriched uranium stockpile to beyond the 300 kilograms set by the JCPOA. Next, it announced that it had begun enriching uranium to purity rates beyond the JCPOA-limit of 3.76 percent.

Mousavi said Monday that Iran would not hesitate to take the third step should the Europeans fail once more.

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