Tehran, EU Proud of Nuclear Deal

Tehran, EU Proud of Nuclear Deal Tehran, EU Proud of Nuclear Deal

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran and Europe have pulled off a feat by helping bring an end to 12 years of dispute over Tehran's nuclear program under last year's historic nuclear deal, which promoted diplomacy as a potential solution to other major international conflicts.

The three European powers, namely Britain, Germany and France, were among the six nations, known as E3+3 or P5+1, that clinched the accord with Iran.

Jan. 16 marked the implementation day, when the deal, formally referred to as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, took effect and sanctions against Tehran were lifted in return for temporary restrictions on its nuclear work.

Days after the JCPOA was announced, Zarif and visiting EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, agreed on a plan to hold high-level bilateral talks.

The talks were launched last week in Tehran in a meeting between the bloc's political director, Helga Schmid, and Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht-Ravanchi.

Zarif, who is on a follow-up trip to Brussels to meet top EU and Belgian officials, addressed the European Parliament on Tuesday, ISNA reported.

"Iran and the EU should take pride in the fact that they demonstrated the efficiency of diplomacy" in the long-running nuclear negotiations that produced the JCPOA, he said.

  Dialogue Replaces Tension

The top diplomat had attended a joint press conference with Mogherini late on Monday.

He told the conference that the two sides are eager to get over past tensions and increase cooperation through dialogue.

"We will replace tension with dialogue," he said.

Zarif noted that his talks with EU officials would cover a variety of issues, including anti-narcotics campaign and human rights.

Those who still insist on the use of military force to resolve the Syrian conflict should "abandon that illusion" and contribute to efforts to establish a ceasefire in the war-wracked Arab country, as agreed upon by the participants in Syria peace talks last week in Munich, he said.

Zarif also said there is vast potential for cooperation between Iran and European states on regional issues.

"We all believe no military solution can solve regional crises and a diplomatic solution is required," he said.

Mogherini praised Iran for complying with its JCPOA commitments to put the agreed curbs on its nuclear program in place, thereby allowing the deal to go into force.   

"I already had several occasions but I would like to reiterate it formally here and congratulate the minister personally as well as Iran for an excellent work done in coordination and cooperation with [the International Atomic Energy Agency] and the E3+3 and obviously we will continue to work on that," she said.

Before addressing EU lawmakers, Zarif held a meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, focusing mainly on how to effectively address extremism, terrorism and a refugee crisis created and fueled by conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa.

Zarif hoped that Tehran and Brussels could restore pre-sanctions levels of bilateral relations.