VIENNA – Iran’s deputy foreign minister accused the United Kingdom on Sunday of breaching Tehran’s nuclear deal after the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar.
Abbas Araghchi was in Vienna to meet with representatives from the UK, Russia, Germany, China and France to discuss how to salvage the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action after the United States pulled out last year and began imposing strict sanctions on Tehran.
“During the past month, various changes have happened regarding JCPOA, which made it vital to hold a joint commission meeting,” Araghchi said in a televised speech.
“There are some other issues that we consider as violation of JCPOA or lack of commitment of JCPOA-members.
“We and Europeans both wanted today’s meeting to be held.”
Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabie said the UK’s proposal to send a military fleet to the Persian Gulf would increase the tension in the region.
The UK proposed to form a European mission to escort ships in the Persian Gulf after the Iranian Revolutionary Guards captured the British-flagged Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz on 19 July.
On 4 July, an Iranian oil tanker was stopped off Gibraltar on suspicion of carrying oil to Syria.
Iran has not fulfilled its commitments under the 2015 accord for several weeks, suspending restrictions on the quantity and the purity of enriched uranium.
The country has accused Europe of not doing enough to guarantee that Tehran receives its promised economic benefits, amid severe sanctions and the US-driven oil embargo.
The White House believes that Iran is destabilizing the Middle East, with interventions in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen and support to Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas.
Iran has demanded to be allowed to sell its oil, the main source of its revenue.
The Islamic republic is stepping up pressure on Britain and the US through actions against oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz.
Germany, France and the UK attempted to keep the JCPOA alive by establishing the Instex in January to facilitate trading with the Islamic republic without violating US sanctions.
Washington criticized the trade mechanism and demanded the European Union withdraw from the agreement.