Exactly one year after the United States unilaterally stepped out of the international atomic agreement with Iran, Tehran wants to “gradually reduce” its commitments regarding the nuclear deal. President Hassan Rohani will inform his colleagues in China, Germany, France, Great Britain, and Russia about the decision today, reports the Iranian state news agency IRNA.
At the same time, Foreign Ministers and ambassadors from the five countries involved are also informed about the planned procedure.
Rohani would then state in a direct interview with the state channel IRIB that Iran has exercised a great deal of patience in applying the nuclear agreement. But because the other side did not comply with the commitments, Iran is also forced to “gradually reduce its commitments”.
A first phase of the reduction is already being initiated this week, a second phase could start in two months if the implementation of the agreement has not yet taken place.
The term “partial termination or partial exit” would have been replaced in the communication by “step-by-step reduction of obligations”, which actually means the same thing but sounds more moderate from an Iranian standpoint.
It is unclear what the “reduction” in different phases should look like. Allegedly it concerns two technical parts of the atomic agreement. However, according to observers, Iran’s technical obligations in the deal are clear. They must be respected or not. Whether these can also be “reduced”, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna must decide.
China, Germany, France, Great Britain, and Russia are sticking to the deal. Through the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) they even want to bypass American economic sanctions and continue to make a trade with Iran possible. However, INSTEX has been unsuccessful so far, mainly because the major banks, for fear of US criminal cases, did not want to finance trade projects with Iran.
The Vienna nuclear agreement was concluded in July 2015. The agreement was to make it impossible for Iran to develop nuclear weapons with strict international controls. In exchange, the West promised a relaxation of sanctions and a normalization of trade relations.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has adhered to the deal since January 2016 and no breach of terms has been found. The United States unilaterally left the international agreement at the beginning of May 2018.