EU sticks by Iran nuclear agreement as Trump decision looms

BY Eurasia Crossroads January 11, 2018, 12:52 PM

The EU has thrown its weight behind the teetering nuclear agreement with Iran, on the eve of a key decision on whether the US should reimpose sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Speaking after a meeting with foreign ministers from Iran, the UK, Germany and France, the EU’s top diplomat said the bloc would continue to abide by the landmark 2015 accord to ensure Iranian nuclear disarmament. Federica Mogherini said the agreement was “crucial to the security of Europe”, and added: “The deal is working. It is delivering on its main goal which means keeping the Iranian nuclear deal in check.”

The EU’s show of diplomatic unity comes ahead of a Friday deadline for the White House to decide whether it will renew a waiver on sanctions on Iran.

Mr Trump has called the accord signed with six global actors as “the worst deal ever”. US-Iran relations have come under further strain over the last two weeks after Mr Trump forcefully condemned the Iranian regime’s response to a wave of anti-regime protests which have killed 21.

Ms Mogherini said the ministers had “briefly discussed internal recent events in Iran” today. Brussels been firm in its support for the nuclear agreement, insisting that Iran is still in compliance with the terms of the deal which is designed to stop the Islamic Republic from acquiring full-scale nuclear weapons.

Boris Johnson, the UK foreign secretary, said the onus was on critics of the deal – which is known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – to come up with a “better alternative”. “It is incumbent on those who oppose the JCPOA to come up with a better solution, which we haven’t seen so far”, said Mr Johnson.

He added that Tehran should also build “worldwide support” for this agreement by showing “it is a good neighbour in the region”. “We should focus on what Iran can do to resolve the appalling crisis in Yemen, to push forward peace in Syria, and resolve other questions in the region”, said Mr Johnson.

Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s foreign minister, said the EU wanted to “protect” the accord “against any possible undermining decision from wherever it may come”. “It sends a very dangerous signal that the only agreement that prevents the proliferation of nuclear weapons is negatively impacted”, said Mr Gabriel.

Originally authored by Mehreen Khan (Financial Times).

TAGS: EU, Iran, nuclear deal, US