World marks second anniversary of Iran nuclear deal

July 15, 2017 - 20:20

TEHRAN – Friday marked the second anniversary of the historic nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the European Union.

The deal ended decades of economic sanctions against Tehran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.

The nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed on July 14, 2015 and went into force on January 16, 2016. The accord enters its third year despite continuing mistrust and tension between Tehran and Washington.

The JCPOA was reached after 20 months of “arduous” negotiations. During the final negotiations, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stayed in Vienna for 17 days, making him the top American official devoting time to a single international negotiation in more than four decades.

Since the implementation of the deal, many countries across the world have established closer ties with Iran, looking for opportunities to invest in the country’s economy.

Earlier this month, France’s energy giant Total signed a landmark gas deal with Iran worth nearly $5 billion. The deal marked Iran’s first major energy contract since the nuclear-related sanctions were lifted.

“We’re here to build bridges, not walls,” said Patrick Pouyanné, the chairman and CEO of Total, in an interview with Agence France-Presse at the signing ceremony in Tehran. “Economic development is also a way of building peace,” he noted.

Pouyanné’s remarks drew a clear distinction between European leaders’ vision of improving relations with Iran and that of the American leaders, who repeatedly target Iran with sanctions and threats, especially since Donald Trump became the president of the United States.

Since Trump took office, Europe and the U.S. have taken increasingly different approaches toward Tehran, with Europe seeming interested in the new economic opportunities up for grabs in Iran, and on the other hand, the U.S. president flip-flopping on whether he will stay committed to the nuclear deal and his anti-Iran rhetoric.

Marking the anniversary of the JCPOA, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Friday praised the deal, urging all signatories to remain committed to their obligations.

“This deal belongs to the international community, having been endorsed by the United Nations Security Council, that expects all sides to keep the commitments they took two years ago,” she said. 

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also praised the nuclear accord as a "historic diplomatic achievement" in a statement on Friday.

“The Iran nuclear deal has helped to make the world a safer place by imposing strict limits on Iran's nuclear program, in return for the lifting of sanctions. It's an example of what can be achieved when the international community works together,” Johnson said.

Since January 2016, when the JCPOA took effect, the International Atomic Energy Organization, which monitors the technical implementation of the deal, has in numerous reports confirmed Iran’s compliance.

Last month, the United Nations political chief called on the participants of the plan of action on Iran’s nuclear program as well as the wider international community to continue to support the full and effective implementation of the agreement.

“The Secretary-General believes that the comprehensive and sustained implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will guarantee that Iran’s nuclear program remains exclusively peaceful, while allowing for transparency, monitoring and verification,” said Jeffery Feltman, the under-secretary-general for Political Affairs.


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