The UK-French-German attempt to trigger the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) dispute resolution mechanism reduces chances to save the Iran nuclear deal, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Wednesday, slamming the move as groundless.
"We are in contact with the European trio, with the European foreign policy service [European External Action Service], Iran and China on all the aspects of the situation that has emerged and that is quite alarming. The European trio's attempt to activate the dispute resolution mechanism under JCPOA paragraph 36 is a destructive step that dramatically reduces chances to preserve the JCPOA," Ryabkov said.
Moscow is concerned over the European nations' decision to "escalate" despite their claims of wishing to save the nuclear pact, the deputy foreign minister added.
"In our contacts with them, we are explaining why we see their intention to launch the mechanism as counterproductive, as it, generally, has neither legal nor procedural nor political ground," Ryabkov said.
Germany, France and the UK, commonly referred to as the EU big three, said in a joint statement earlier in the day that they were left with no choice but to trigger the dispute resolution mechanism in the 2015 deal, given Iran's reduction of its JCPOA obligations.
On Sunday, in the aftermath of the US drone attack that killed Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, Iran announced that it was discontinuing its remaining JCPOA obligations.
The JCPOA was signed in 2015 by Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, and the European Union. It required Iran to scale back its nuclear program and severely downgrade its uranium reserves in exchange for sanctions relief. In 2018, the United States abandoned its conciliatory policy on Iran, withdrawing from the JCPOA and hitting Iranian petroleum industries with sanctions.