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UK, France, and Germany to Maintain Sanctions on Iran Over Missile and Drone Sales to Russia

The United Kingdom, France, and Germany have jointly announced their intention to uphold sanctions against Iran, aimed at dissuading the country from supplying drones and missiles to Russia. These sanctions are set to persist despite the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which stipulates the lifting of some sanctions next month.

The European nations contend that Iran violated the agreement by engaging in the enrichment and storage of uranium, a move perceived as “illegal and provocative.” Highly enriched uranium can potentially be employed in the development of nuclear weapons.

To reinforce their stance, the European powers have declared their intention to incorporate expiring United Nations sanctions into their national laws. Some of these measures are designed to curb Iran’s capacity to develop and export ballistic missiles and drones. However, it’s worth noting that, despite sanctions, Russia has utilized drones manufactured in Iran during its conflict with Ukraine.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), formed eight years ago, involved Iran and a group of world powers known as the P5+1, comprising the US, UK, France, China, Russia, and Germany. Under the agreement, Iran committed to restricting its sensitive nuclear activities and granting access to international inspectors in exchange for the removal of crippling economic sanctions. The JCPOA also prohibits the sale, purchase, or transfer of drones and missiles to and from Iran.

If countries like Russia and China do not adopt sanctions akin to those imposed by the UK, France, and Germany before October 18th, they will no longer be bound by these restrictions.

The E3 nations, collectively known as the E3, affirmed that the sanctions would persist until Iran achieved “full compliance” with the JCPOA. Iran has protested, asserting that this decision “clearly” violates the E3’s commitments under the JCPOA and UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which calls upon Iran to refrain from activities related to ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear payloads.

The E3, however, maintained that their decision aligns with the JCPOA, as Iran had twice declined opportunities to return to compliance with the agreement and had continued to expand its nuclear program beyond the JCPOA’s boundaries, without credible civilian justification.

It is noteworthy that the United States unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018 during the presidency of Donald Trump.