European Union foreign ministers have reaffirmed their support for the historic nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, saying the accord is working and is a key part of non-proliferation efforts.
According to Press TV, the EU’s foreign ministers held a closed-door meeting, chaired by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, on how best to proceed on the Iran issue in Luxembourg on Monday. The meeting came three days after US President Donald Trump defied both Washington’s allies and adversaries by refusing to formally certify that Iran is complying with the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and warned that he might ultimately terminate the agreement.
While Trump did not pull Washington out of the nuclear deal, he gave the US Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose economic sanctions against Tehran that were lifted under the pact. Reimposing sanctions would put the US at odds with other signatories to the accord and the European Union.
The top EU diplomats urged US lawmakers not to reimpose sanctions on Tehran and warned against the serious consequences for regional peace of a failure to maintain the international agreement backed by the UN Security Council.
“As Europeans together, we are very worried that the decision of the US president could lead us back into military confrontation with Iran,” German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told reporters.
After the meeting, the foreign ministers issued a statement, expressing their determination to fully implement the international nuclear agreement.
“The EU is committed to the continued full and effective implementation of all parts of the JCPOA,” the statement said.
It added that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has certified eight times that Iran was living up to its commitments under the JCPOA. The deal has also been certified twice in the United States since Trump took office.
“At a time of acute nuclear threat, the EU is determined to preserve the [agreement] as a key pillar of the international non-proliferation architecture,” the EU foreign ministers said.
They added that they saw Trump’s refusal to certify the JCPOA “as being in the context of an internal US process.”
Mogherini said the ministers “understand the politics around it,” but she noted that “what is of crucial importance for us is that our European security interests are taken into consideration.”
“Non-proliferation is a major element of world security and rupturing that would be extremely damaging. We hope that Congress does not put this accord in jeopardy,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters.
Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders also said the agreement concerns “the safety of the world. I hope also that the US Congress will realize this and take the right decisions.”
During their Monday meeting, the EU ministers also discussed Iran’s ballistic missile program but emphasized that the immediate focus had to be saving the landmark deal.
The EU foreign policy chief said the ministers held no talks about new sanctions on Tehran over its ballistic missile program.