Germany has admitted that the three countries launched the mechanism, set out in article 36 of the deal, after US President Donald Trump threatened to impose 25% tariffs on European cars.
“The move by the three European countries with regard to Iran’s nuclear issue and their bid to launch article 36 of the nuclear agreement is regrettable,” Larijani told an open session of the parliament in Tehran Sunday.
“One of the European countries’ ministers has explicitly stated that the US has threatened if we do not apply the trigger mechanism, it will raise tariffs on car imports by 25%,” he added.
Larijani was apparently referring to German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer who admitted Thursday that Trump had secretly warned the three countries to act against Iran or have him impose tariffs of 25% on European cars.
“This expression or threat, as you will, does exist,” she told a press conference in London when asked about the report in the Washington Post.
While the Europeans have said they were not joining a “maximum pressure” campaign by the Trump administration which abandoned the pact in 2018, the triggering of the mechanism amounts to formally accusing Tehran of violating the terms of the agreement.
Russia and China, key signatories to the nuclear pact known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), have said they saw no grounds to trigger the mechanism and Iran has dismissed the step as a “strategic mistake”.
“The problem is not in Iran’s behavior while you have repeatedly castigated the American withdrawal yourselves. The problem is in the threat by America which has forced a powerful bloc like Europe to a humiliating and unjust behavior,” Larijani said, addressing the so-called E3.
Iran patiently waited for one year after the US pulled out of the nuclear agreement, but the remaining signatories were not able to fulfill their obligations to protect Tehran’s economic interests under the deal.
Earlier this month, Iran announced that it would scrap all limits on its nuclear program after the US assassinated top Iranian military commander General Qassem Soleimani in Iraq, which the Europeans failed to condemn.
“Iran is not amenable to threat. More than a year and so has passed since America’s hostile behavior with regard to the nuclear issue, but Europe has merely issued a political statement. The Islamic Republic of Iran has been patient for too long,” Larijani said.
“We expressly declare that if Europe, for whatever reason, behaves unfairly in using article 36 of the nuclear agreement, the Islamic Republic of Iran will accordingly make a serious decision on cooperation with the [International Atomic Energy] Agency and the plan has already been prepared in Majlis,” he said.
“We will not be the first one to initiate this, but we will act according to your actions, so you had better act fairly,” Larijani told the Europeans.