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Iran warns EU against ‘wrong steps’ in tense nuclear deal standoff

Iranian President Hassan Rowhani has urged the EU to avoid taking any "wrong step" in connection with the 2015 nuclear deal after Britain, France and Germany increased pressure on the Islamic Republic by launching the accord's dispute mechanism.

Iranian President Hassan Rowhani has urged the EU to avoid taking any “wrong step” in connection with the 2015 nuclear deal after Britain, France and Germany increased pressure on the Islamic Republic by launching the accord’s dispute mechanism.

“If you [EU countries] take a wrong step, it will only detrimentally affect you,” Rowhani said during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, according to a statement from his office. “Do the right thing.”

The EU launched a dispute mechanism against Iran on Tuesday to pressure the country to stop violating the nuclear accord, which was struck in 2015 with six other countries to curb Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity in return for sweeping sanctions relief.

The accord has been in jeopardy since 2018 when the United States announced its unilateral withdrawal from the deal and reimposed economic sanctions.

Last May, Iran announced that it would ignore key provisions of the deal and has since breached limits on the amount and purity grade of uranium that it is allowed to enrich. On Jan. 5, the government said it no longer saw itself bound by the deal after the US killed top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a targeted drone strike.

The implementation of the nuclear agreement, as stipulated by the deal signed by the US, Britain, France, China, Russia, Germany, and Iran—not the activation of the dispute mechanism—is the right course, Rowhani said.

As soon as this happens, the Iranian president said, Iran would also fully and completely return to the nuclear deal.

On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson proposed replacing the agreement with a new Iranian nuclear deal drafted by US President Donald Trump.

Rowhani rejected the proposal, describing it as “absurd.”

“I don’t know what the British premier was thinking with that,” he said.

Iran does not want a nuclear weapons program for religious reasons, he said, and the country’s entire nuclear program is under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

UN inspectors are present in the country and their cameras are installed at the nuclear facilities, the president said.

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