Shunning Trump, EU strongly backs Iran nuclear deal

Hannah Rogers
January 12, 2018

"We should separate two things from each other: we want to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran... and the hard role Iran has in the region", Gabriel said before a meeting with his counterparts from Iran, Britain, France and the EU's top diplomat.

Europe and Iran put on a united front over the 2015 accord on freezing the country's nuclear programme on Thursday, warning the U.S. against a decision to supper the deal.

Mr. Trump's expected move falls far short of what U.S. Iranian hawks had been hoping for, even if Mr. Trump again asserts the deal is not in the U.S. interest.

The Iranian nuclear deal "is working", Mogherini said.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is to raise Paris' concerns about the deal as well as its ballistic missile program while also seeking to keep dialogue open with Iran, a spokesman told journalists.

Mr. Trump faces a January 12 deadline to extend waivers of broad oil and energy sector sanctions that were critical in getting Iran's commitment to the Obama-era accord.

In reaction to US President Donald Trump's likely decision on the JCPOA in the coming days, he said that one of Trump's policies is his unpredictability.

The EU and other world powers have repeatedly warned it would be a mistake to abandon the deal, thrashed out with Iran over 12 years by the US, Britain, France, China, Germany and Russian Federation.

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On the eve of a deadline for the US president to decide whether to reimpose oil sanctions lifted under the deal, the foreign ministers of the three European powers and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini made their plea after their meeting in Brussels.

Before the deal, Iran was said to be mere months way from having enough material to produce a nuclear weapon.

The push for new sanctions appears to have gained new life amid the recent wave of anti-regime protests in Iran and more specifically the Iranian government's harsh crackdown on demonstrators last week.

"The aim is to send a message to Washington that Iran is complying and that it is better to have the nuclear agreement than to isolate Tehran", said a diplomatic source quoted by Reuters. The German minister, who has been outspoken in his criticism of U.S. foreign policy since President Donald Trump took office a year ago, said the United States was right to address concerns about Iran's strategy in the Middle East, Reuters reports.

"The unity of the global community is essential to preserve a deal that is working, that is making the world safer and that is preventing potential nuclear arms race in the region".

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly said Iran is keeping up its side of the agreement, most recently in November. After talks in Moscow on Wednesday Zarif tweeted a warning.

"Everyone agrees it is imperative that ALL live up to their obligations under JCPOA". He added that the European parties are "fully aware that Iran's continued compliance (is) conditioned on full compliance by the United States".

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