European Nations Trigger Dispute Mechanism on Iran Nuclear Deal

Russia opposes move, Iran has long sought internal discussions

In a move that could potentially complicate the future of the P5+1 nuclear deal, Germany, France, and Britain have all triggered the “dispute mechanism” within the deal, citing Iran’s refusal to hold itself to any specific limits on civilian nuclear enrichment.

Iran has been deliberately ignoring the limits, citing the three EU nations’ failure to comply with sanctions relief, in a bid to get talks going on fixing the deal, and to try to avoid anything that could break the deal outright.

Since President Trump withdrew the US from the deal, it has been struggling, as the US has blocked the EU nations from fulfilling their obligations, and so far the EU has proved unable to do anything about that. Iran has been very clear that they will return to 100% compliance in very short order if the EU nations guarantee them the sanctions relief that the nuclear deal promised.

Russia was critical of the nations triggering the mechanism, saying there was no grounds for it. Iranian officials similarly said it was “legally baseless and a strategic mistake” for them to do so.

Despite violating enrichment caps in recent weeks, Iran’s program has remained strictly civilian in nature, and would be well within literally any other nation’s legal rights under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Iran has gone out of its way to make the technical violations ones that would be easily reversible if a deal is worked out, but the mechanism suggests the EU nations aren’t necessarily looking to save the deal with further negotiations.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of