European Union calls on Iran to fulfill nuclear deal commitments

Are we moving toward a military conflict with Iran? It sure feels like

Partial withdrawal: Iran pulls out of parts of 2015 nuclear deal

The European Union is urging Iran to respect the worldwide agreement curbing the Islamic Republic's nuclear ambitions and says it aims to continue trading with the country despite US sanctions.

In a statement on Thursday, European signatories of the Nuclear Deal, officially known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), rejected Iran's ultimatum which calls on the bloc to make good on their commitments to the nuclear deal in the next two months or Tehran would start suspending some of its own.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had on Thursday threatened a "swift and decisive" US response to any attack by Iran, in the latest of a series of escalating statements and actions.

"We remain fully committed to the preservation and full implementation of the JCPOA, a key achievement of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture, which is in the security interest of all".

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The US announced its withdrawal from the deal In May 2018 and imposed sanctions on Iran in November of the same year.

Rouhani set a 60-day deadline for the parties to either change the terms of the agreement or face the prospect of Iran resuming its uranium enrichment programme. "Iran must remain in the agreement, and we must do everything so that it remains in it", Macron stated. The EU powers say they "regret the re-imposition of sanctions" by the USA and remain "determined to continue pursuing efforts to enable the continuation of legitimate trade with Iran". "If the clerics in Tehran choose, as the Iranian people are demanding, to play by the rules, respect the sovereignty of their neighbors, and abide by worldwide obligations and commitments, the United States will be ready and willing to engage".

Tehran on May 8 said it had stopped observing limits on its nuclear activities agreed under the 2015 deal until they find a way to bypass renewed US sanctions. The workaround, dubbed INSTEX, is not yet operational as Iran has not completed its part of the scheme.

"For the first time in a very long time, we are raising the costs of Iran's expansionism and making clear that this kind of blackmail will no longer work", Hook said. More than a dozen reports have shown that Tehran is respecting it so far.

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"We reject any ultimatums and we will assess Iran's compliance on the basis of Iran's performance regarding its nuclear-related commitments" under the agreement, the European statement said. The deal, she said, "is a matter of security for us and for the entire world".

"We will undoubtedly have the opportunity to discuss it now", Macron told reporters. Israel, which has conducted pre-emptive bombings of nuclear facilities in Iraq and Syria, has vowed to never allow Iran to obtain an atomic weapon.

Vice Admiral Jim Malloy, commander of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, indicated on Thursday he is ready to order the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln into the Strait of Hormuz if necessary to protect oil shipments.

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