Austrian FM Highlights Role of JCPOA in Regional Stability

Austrian FM Highlights Role of JCPOA in Regional StabilityAustrian FM Highlights Role of JCPOA in Regional Stability

Austria's foreign minister underlined the role of the 2015 nuclear deal in preserving peace and security in the Middle East, stressing the need to keep the landmark agreement alive.
Alexander Schallenberg, who is on a political mission in Tehran, made the remark in a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday, reported.
Formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear agreement has been on shaky ground since the United States unilaterally withdrew in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.
The European parties tried to save it, but failed to safeguard Iran's interests over the course of a year, forcing the country to gradually reduce its compliance, although it announced that all moves would be reversed once it can enjoy the deal's benefits once again.
Schallenberg described JCPOA as a turning point in trust-building efforts in the region and the world.
"Preserving JCPOA is our main policy and that of the European Union, and we will do all in our power to this end," he said.
Schallenberg had told reporters before setting off for Tehran that Iran's exit from JCPOA could pose an immeasurable danger for Europe and Austria by triggering an arms race in the Middle East.
"The EU is aware that the failure of JCPOA can lead to a nuclear arms race in the whole region whose dangers for Europe would be unpredictable," he had said.



Traditional Role 

Speaking to IRNA before his trip, Schallenberg had highlighted his country's traditional mediatory role, saying he would propose hosting negotiations in Vienna once again during his visit to Tehran.
Although Austria is not part of the nuclear agreement, the deal was negotiated in large part in Vienna.
Schallenberg had once said, "If JCPOA parties do not want to return to the negotiating table, we will take the negotiating table to them." 
Rouhani noted in the meeting that the nuclear deal does not only belong to Iran, Europe or P5+1 (five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany that signed JCPOA), but can affect the peace and security of the entire region and the world.
He added that JCPOA could have been an effective means for rebuilding trust between Iran and the West, stressing that Tehran has been committed to the agreement.
The president pointed to the US sanctions that have disrupted the trade of food and medicine, describing the American economic pressure as a “terrorist” move.
"We expect the EU to fulfill its humanitarian duty in this regard," he said.
Rouhani also expressed hope that Austria would not be influenced by the US "illegal and wrong" pressure in improving its cooperation with Iran.
He later referred to security issues in regional countries and waterways, reiterating Iran's view that the security of the region has to be ensured by countries located inside it. 
"All our problems stem from America's wrong and illegal intervention in the region's affairs," he said. 
The president underlined Iran's Hormuz Peace Endeavor as a solution to regional security problems. 
The initiative, which was unveiled by Rouhani during the UN General Assembly last September, aims to establish peace through the cooperation of regional countries and the UN. 
"We believe that the security of this region is important to that of Europe, as well as the safety of energy routes for the whole world," he said. 
Schallenberg said Austria welcomes the peace plan and is willing to play a positive role in its operation. 
"In our view, the Hormuz peace plan can be a roadmap to guarantee peace and stability in the region," he said. 
The Austrian minister had earlier met his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and discussed various topics, particularly the latest developments regarding JCPOA and the European parties' commitments. 

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