The Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council said if Europe fails to meet its commitments, Iran will take the fifth incremental step to further reduce its obligations.
"If the Europeans fail to fulfill their JCPOA obligations, we will take the fifth step," Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani stressed on Sunday regarding Iran's fifth step of scaling back its commitments under a landmark 2015 nuclear deal.
After the US pullout, the three European parties vowed to guarantee Iran's economic interests in accordance with the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but they have so far failed to implement practical measures to save it, said Ali Shamkhani.
"It was the US President Donald Trump who started to reduce the JCPOA commitments by leaving the nuclear deal and after that, Europe ignored its JCPOA commitments," Shamkhani noted.
The nuclear deal was reached in Vienna in July 2015 between Iran and the 5+1 group of countries -- the US, the UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany. It lifted nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran, which, in turn, voluntarily changed some aspects of its nuclear energy program.
The US, however, left the accord in May 2018 and reinstated its unilateral sanctions against Iran. The European signatories to the deal (France, Germany, Britain), meanwhile, have bowed to Washington’s pressure, failing to honor their contractual obligations to protect Iran’s economy in the face of America’s “toughest-ever” sanctions.
In response, Iran initiated a first step in reducing its obligations under the JCPOA this May by increasing its enriched uranium stockpile to beyond the 300-kilogram limit set by the JCPOA.
The second and third steps followed after Washington insisted on its violations of the JCPOA, and the European signatories continued with their inaction and dithering. In the second step, Tehran began enriching uranium to purity rates beyond the JCPOA-limit of 3.76 percent.
In the third step the country startup its advanced centrifuges to boost its stockpile of enriched uranium and activated 20 IR-4 and 20 IR-6 centrifuges for research and development purposes.
In November, Iran began injecting gas into centrifuges at the Fordow plant as part of its fourth step away from the JCPOA under the supervision of the IAEA.