France warns Iran it could be sanctioned

France says international sanctions could be reimposed on Iran if it reneges on commitments under 2015 nuclear deal.

Elad Benari ,

French President Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron

France warned on Tuesday that international sanctions could be reimposed on Iran if it reneges on commitments under its nuclear deal, Reuters reported.

The warning comes a day after Iranian media reported that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will announce on Wednesday that Iran will begin to renege on its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, though it will not fully withdraw from the agreement.

US President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 deal last May and has since then imposed two rounds of sanctions against Iran.

Meanwhile, Germany, France and Britain, which did not agree with Trump’s decision to leave the deal, have been scrambling to prevent a collapse of the agreement.

The EU recently introduced a trade mechanism that would bypass US sanctions on Iran, in a bid to save the 2015 deal, but Iran said the mechanism is not sufficient.

A French presidential source on Tuesday said the European countries did not yet know precisely what steps Iran was now planning, but they could have to reimpose sanctions on Iran if those steps amount to reneging.

“We do not want Tehran to announce tomorrow actions that would violate the nuclear agreement, because in this case we Europeans would be obliged to reimpose sanctions as per the terms of the agreement,” the source said, according to Reuters.

“We sent messages to Tehran to say that we were determined to implement the agreement, that we really wanted them to stay in this agreement even though we took into account the complexity of the situation and passed on the same messages to our American allies,” the source added.

A second French official later said that if Tehran failed to comply with the deal, the issue would be treated through a dispute mechanism under the accord itself, which could lead to the reimposition of UN Security Council sanctions.

Since withdrawing from the nuclear deal, Washington has given waivers to some countries, mainly in Asia, to keep buying Iranian oil for a limited time. Last week it said it would now end the waivers to reduce Iran’s crude exports to zero.

In addition, Trump recently designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization. In response, an angry Iran passed a bill labeling US forces in the Middle East as terrorists.