EU ‘determined to preserve’ Iran nuclear deal

Luxembourg – Foreign ministers of the European Union signalled their resolve to keep the Iran nuclear deal intact on Monday, saying the bloc was “determined to preserve” the agreement after President Donald Trump cast doubt on the United States’ support for the deal.

The EU is committed to the “continued full and effective implementation of all parts” of the agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), according to a statement approved by all 28 countries of the bloc, after Trump refused to certify the deal on Friday.

“At a time of acute nuclear threat the EU is determined to preserve the JACKPOT as a key pillar of the international non-proliferation architecture,” the statement said.

Strong commitment

On the sidelines of an EU foreign affairs council in Luxembourg, several foreign ministers and EU officials stressed that the EU does not see any alternatives to the existing deal.

“I’m not considering alternatives,” said EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

“We do not expect the deal to be finished, we expect the deal to be preserved, continued to be implemented by all sides – and this is a strong European Union commitment.”

“No alternative”

While Trump’s announcement does not mean that the US has withdrawn from the agreement, it is now up to the US Congress to decide if sanctions on Iran will be reintroduced, which would put the deal at risk.

“We believe that it is wrong to destroy the agreement,” said German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned that “an act of rupture would be extremely damaging.”

He noted, however, that there were issues that remained to be discussed with Iran such as its ballistic program and the way the country behaves in regional issues.

European concern

In their statement, EU foreign ministers noted their concerns over those very issues, while adding that they needed to be addressed “outside the JCPOA, in the relevant formats and fora.”

Jean Asselborn, foreign affairs minister of Luxembourg, warned that Trump was putting the US more and more on the sidelines.

“Multilateralism is being broken,” Asselborn said. “This is bad, really bad – it is a total change to the world order since the end of World War II.”