Friday, 23 Feb 2018 - 8 of Adar, 5778

EU countries defend nuclear deal with Iran and express concerns over Tehran’s ballistic missiles and tensions in the region

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BRUSSELS—The three major EU countries and EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini staunchly defended the nuclear deal signed in 2015 by the world powers and Iran while they also expressed concerns over Tehran”s development of ballistic missiles and increasing tensions in the region.

The Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and Britain – respecrtively Jean-Yves Le Drian, Sigmar Gabriel and Boris Johnson- together with Mogherini met Thursday in Brussels wth Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Zarif ‘’as part of the ongoing work to ensure the full and continued implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], the nuclear deal with Iran, by all parties.’’

The meeting was called by Mogherini as US President Donald Trump is to decide mid-January whether to reimpose oil sanctions lifted under the deal. He has objected to the deal which he called  ‘’the worst deal ever negotiated’’.

In contrast, Mogherini said that the deal ‘’is working.’’ “”It is delivering on its main goal, which means keeping the Iranian nuclear programme in check and under close surveillance,’’ she added after the meeting at a joint press conference with the three ministers.

She said the International Atomic Energy Agency ‘’has confirmed in nine reports that Iran is fully complying with the commitments made under the agreement.’’

‘’Its continued successful implementation ensures that Iran’s nuclear programme remains exclusively peaceful,’’ she added.

She stressed that the nuclear deal ‘’is a multilateral agreement endorsed by the UN Security Council with a Resolution.’’

‘’It it is crucial for the security of the region but also for the security of Europe,’’ the EU top diplomat said.

She mentioned that the EU countries expressed concerns related to the  development of ballistic missiles by Iran and increasing tensions in the region, but noted that ‘’these issues are outside the scope of the nuclear agreement’’.

‘’ We also briefly obviously discussed internal recent events in Iran,’’ in a reference to recent protests against the Iranian  regime in several cities across the country.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the nuclear deal should be kept in place so that Europe and the United States could move on to other issues, such as confronting Iran over its missile programme and involvement in wars in Yemen and Syria.

“We do not hide other disagreements, which exist both in the ballistic field and over Iran’s action in the whole region,” Le Drian said, adding that Europe viewed those issues as separate from the nuclear one.

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