BRUSSELS—The European Union called for an ‘’urgent de-escalation and maximum restraint” by every party in the Iran-US crisis and stressed its commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran, following an emergency meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels on Friday.
‘’The crisis risks jeopardizing years of efforts to stabilise Iraq, especially given its implications for the decisive work of the Global Coalition Against Da’esh,’’ EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said at a press conference after the ministerial meeting which was called to discuss the US-Iran crisis in the aftermath of the killing of Iranan general Qassem Soleimani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Al Quds force, in a US air strike.
‘’We condemn every attack on Coalition forces and we clearly state that continuing fighting Da’esh remains our priority,,’ he added.
Borrell also insisted that the EU remains committed to preserving the nuclear agreement with Iran. ‘’Without the JCPOA, Iran would be a nuclear power today,’’ Borrell said. ‘’ We strongly believe that it is in our interest to preserve the JCPOA as far as we can despite calls from US President Donald Trump to break away from the deal.’’
Iran struck the deal in 2015 with the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia and China. In 2018, President Trump decided to unilaterally withdraw from it, triggering sanctions that have badly hurt Iran’s economy.
Borrell also called on Iran to go back to full compliance to the deal ‘’without delay’’ and said the EU relies on the Internional Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to continue monitoring and verifying Iran’s nuclear activities. We strongly believe in the capacity of the IAEA to be able to monitor all Iranian activities on the nuclear field.
The EU’s top diplomat, who is a former Spanish Foreign Minister, has invited Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to Brussels but not date has been set yet for such a visit.
At their meeting, EU Foreign Ministers gave Borrell a mandate for a dialogue with all parties, including Iran, in order to look for a political regional solution.
Earlier this week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that ‘’the use of weapons must stop now to give space for dialogue.’’