EU reiterates support for Iran nuclear deal

August 29, 2017

TEHRAN – In their first meeting after the summer recess, the European Union defended the Iran nuclear agreement, aka the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a response to a new wave of pressure from the White House to undercut the international pact.

Addressing the opening session of the 2017 EU Ambassadors Conference in Brussels on Monday, Federica Mogherini spoke in favor of the deal and said it represents “the European way to foreign policy.”

“This was not an agreement between two countries, I have repeated it time and again and I have the impression that we will need to repeat it time and again in the months to come,” Mogherini added, apparently referring to the stepped-up American rhetoric and action against the deal.

Elsewhere, the French president became the latest world leader to come out in support of the JCPOA, saying France sees “no alternative” to the agreement.

Emmanuel Macron said the deal has facilitated a constructive relationship with Iran.

U.S. President Donald Trump has called the JCPOA — which was negotiated under his predecessor Barack Obama — “the worst deal ever” and repeatedly threatened to tear it up.

The deal was reached between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Germany, and the European Union in July 2015 and took effect in January 2016.

The Trump administration is actively seeking a pretext to potentially withdraw from the JCPOA. Among other things, the White House has reportedly been pressuring U.S. intelligence officials to invent a pretext that could be used to declare Iran in violation of the nuclear agreement.

This is while the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is tasked with monitoring Iranian compliance with the deal, has consistently verified the Islamic Republic’s adherence to its obligations.

Last week, the Trump administration sent its Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley to Vienna to lobby with the IAEA to request access to Iranian military sites as part of the deal, a move generally considered an attempt at undermining the JCPOA.

Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief, said in her Monday's comments that the JCPOA was “a commitment undertaken by the entire international community on one side and Iran on the other, supported by a resolution of the UN Security Council, and certified regularly by the International Atomic Energy Agency.”

In a thinly-veiled rejection of U.S. attempts to claim an Iranian breach, she said, “Compliance with the deal is certified by the IAEA and by the Joint Commission I chair..., not by one single individual country.”

The EU’s top diplomat further hailed Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s “personal commitment to continue to implement their part of the deal. This is what is counting the most for us in this moment.”

In a relevant development on Tuesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov urged all parties to the JCPOA to refrain from any unilateral moves concerning the deal.

“We constantly encourage all partners to avoid unilateral actions within the framework of this agreement,” Ryabkov told the 62nd Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs in the Kazakh capital, Astana.

He also voiced Moscow’s opposition to “any interpretations, any toughening or amending the text” of the nuclear agreement.

Russia detects “misunderstanding and mistrust on the part of the United States [regarding the JCPOA implementation],” he said, adding Washington’s actions “undermine not just the spirit, but [also] the letter of the agreement.”

SP/PA

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