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France, Germany, UK launch dispute mechanism over Iran deal noncompliance

France, Germany and the U.K. decided to refer Iran's noncompliance with the 2015 nuclear deal to a joint commission, formally launching a dispute mechanism.

The three countries said they hoped to preserve the deal and that the goal was not to implement "maximum pressure" against Iran, a campaign that is widely followed by the U.S. The joint commission is comprised of the three European countries, the European Union, Russia, China and Iran.

Earlier this month, Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced that the country will discard the last key component of its limitations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

This came amid heightened tensions with the U.S. after a leading Iranian military commander, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq, on Jan. 2.

On Jan. 10, the U.S. followed through on its threat of fresh sanctions against Iran, targeting several Iranian government officials and the nation's metals industry and other economic sectors.

In addition, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a new executive order aiming to restrict alleged funding sources for Iran's nuclear program and military activities in the Middle East. The executive order will also authorize the government to impose sanctions on persons doing business with Iran's construction, mining, manufacturing and textiles industries.

Iran raised its enriched uranium stockpile as the first step not to comply with the JCPOA after the U.S. walked out of the nuclear agreement in 2018 and imposed sanctions on the country. It then began using advanced centrifuges to enhance its stockpile and injected gas into the centrifuges as the next steps.