BERLIN — European countries on Tuesday triggered a dispute mechanism in their nuclear deal with Iran, citing Tehran’s decision to gradually drop the limitations on its nuclear energy program.

Iran said it would not comply with any restrictions on enriching uranium after Washington’s targeted killing of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani on Jan. 3. It had reduced its commitments under the deal since the United States withdrew from the deal and reimposed sanctions in 2018.

In a joint statement on Tuesday, Britain, France and Germany said that they had “sought to persuade Iran to change course” and “worked hard” to address its concerns.

However, given Iran’s latest move, the European countries said that they “have therefore been left with no choice, given Iran’s actions, but to register today our concerns that Iran is not meeting its commitments.”

Triggering the dispute mechanism could pave the way for the return of United Nations sanctions on Iran, but the statement said the European countries still remained committed to preserving the deal and would not be joining Washington’s campaign of “maximum pressure” against Tehran.

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