By staff and agency

Austrian FM plans to take a ‘European message’ to Iran

February 21, 2020 - 18:39

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg was scheduled to visit Iran on Saturday and take a “European message” to Tehran.

Schallenberg said after meeting his German counterpart in Berlin that he will be taking a “European message” to Tehran on Saturday and Sunday after also meeting the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, this week, AP reported.

He said on Wednesday that he will travel to Tehran this weekend amid efforts by European countries to keep alive Iran’s nuclear agreement with world powers.

Borrell said on Sunday that he will remain committed to keep the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the JCPOA, alive.

“As coordinator I remain committed to listen to all sides and keep the #NuclearDeal alive,” he said in a tweet.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on February 14 that Iran’s decisions to reduce JCPOA commitments are reversible if Europe takes “meaningful” steps in preserving the JCPOA.

Tehran’s moves to ramp-up its nuclear program in the past few months are reversible “providing that Europe takes steps that are meaningful,” Zarif told reporters on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, according to AP.

Borrell has said that Europe must ensure Iran’s benefits from the nuclear deal if it wants the deal to survive.

“If we want the Iran nuclear deal to survive, we need to ensure that Iran benefits if it returns to full compliance,” he wrote in an article in the Project Syndicate published on February 8.

Borrell was notified in January by Paris, London, and Berlin that they had triggered the resolution dispute mechanism.

He has said that the EU will extend indefinitely the time limit to resolve disputes in the nuclear deal to avoid having to go to the UN Security Council or triggering new sanctions.

“There is an agreement that more time is needed due to the complexity of the issues involved. The timeline is therefore extended,” Borrell said in a statement on January 24.

In May 2019 Iran started to reduce its commitments to the JCPOA at bi-monthly intervals in response to the abrogation of the pact by the U.S. coupled with the European Union’s inaction to shield Iran’s economy from sanctions.