BRUSSELS — Britain, France and Germany triggered the dispute resolution mechanism in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday, a tough warning to Tehran and the first step toward reimposing further United Nations sanctions on Iran.
The move, which had been expected for more than a week, was delayed when the United States killed a top Iranian commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, with repercussions that are still playing out in Iran and across the region.
Triggering the dispute resolution mechanism will set the clock running on what could be some 60 days of negotiations with Iran about coming back into full compliance with the deal, and could end up with a “snapback” of United Nations sanctions on Iran, including an arms embargo.
President Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and has imposed several rounds of American sanctions on Iran. In response, Tehran has repeatedly moved beyond the limits that the agreement had placed on its nuclear program, raising fears that it could be close to building an atomic bomb.
The Europeans want to save the deal and persuade both Washington and Tehran to begin a new set of negotiations about missile development and Iran’s regional activities, a senior European official said.
But the three European countries, all signatories to the deal, clearly felt that they had to respond to Iran’s progressive movement away from compliance with the deal’s limits on centrifuges and uranium enrichment.