Flags of European Union in Brussels (Photo Credit: Kathimerini.gr)

The British, French and German foreign ministers meet in Brussels on Tuesday to hold urgent talks over Iran as they prepare their reaction after Tehran’s decision to scrap the nuclear enrichment limits under a 2015 accord.

The ministers had already been scheduled to meet with their Italian counterpart to discuss the crisis in Libya, but opted to hold separate discussions on Iran amid the crisis that erupted following the U.S. killing of an Iranian general.

Iran said on Sunday that it would scrap limits on enriching uranium, taking a further step back from the 2015 agreement with six major powers, which Washington abandoned in 2018 but the European countries are trying to salvage.

Britain’s foreign office said the E3 – Britain, France and Germany, would meet to discuss ways to defuse tensions between the United States and Iran.

“The talks will also cover the nuclear deal following Iran’s latest announcement on Sunday that it is withdrawing from further commitments in the deal,” a British foreign office spokesman said. A French diplomatic source confirmed the talks.

France’s foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Monday the substance of the Iran nuclear deal was slowly disappearing and European powers would decide in coming days whether to launch a dispute resolution process over Iranian violations. Diplomats told Reuters on Monday that the European parties to the deal would launch the process this week.

The bloc’s 28 ministers meet on Friday in Brussels to discuss the Iran crisis.

“It is imperative that we find a way to de-escalate things,” France’s junior foreign affairs minister told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

“The Europeans need to be the voice of reason. Because of everything that has happened it’s even more important to have contact with all actors to avoid the worst and a vicious cycle of reprisals that leads to a fatal escalation.”

Reporting by John Irish in Paris, Robin Emmott in Brussels and Guy Faulconbridge in London; Editing by Peter Graff

Source: Reuters, January 6, 2020