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EU Plans to Buttress Iran Nuclear Deal

The presence of EU’s mission in the swearing-in ceremony of Iran’s president is an important political decision to demonstrate the bloc’s resolve to broaden relations with Iran and safeguard the nuclear deal
President Hassan Rouhani (R) meets top EU diplomat, Federica Mogherini, in Tehran on August 5.	President Hassan Rouhani (R) meets top EU diplomat, Federica Mogherini, in Tehran on August 5.

The European Union's foreign policy chief said the bloc attaches high importance to the Iran nuclear deal and is developing a plan to ensure its full and sustained implementation.

"The EU holds JCPOA in high regard … and is designing a comprehensive plan that would guarantee the full enforcement of the action plan," Federica Mogherini was quoted as saying by IRNA on Saturday.

She was referring to the accord by its formal title, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Mogherini made the statement in a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on the sidelines of Rouhani's inauguration ceremony to serve a second four-year term.

The top diplomat said the attendance of the EU delegation in the event is a diplomatic goodwill gesture to reaffirm commitment to the historic pact.

"The presence of EU's mission in the swearing-in ceremony of Iran's president was an important political decision to demonstrate the European countries' resolve to broaden relations with Iran and safeguard the action plan," she said.

The expression of renewed EU commitment came despite the hardening stance of the US, EU's ally and main JCPOA partner, toward the Islamic Republic and the deal.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly blasted the accord negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama.

He failed to follow through an electoral pledge to tear up the UN-endorsed agreement, but has called for a full review of the pact.

Experts believe he is itching to walk out of the deal, although he will do that at great cost to US credibility and face the risk of international isolation.

Mogherini reiterated the EU stance that the pact is not a unilateral agreement for the US to scuttle it on its own.

"JCPOA does not belong exclusively to one side and all the negotiating parties and the international community are bound to help preserve it," she said.

Rouhani used the meeting to call on the EU to use its leverage and powerful mandate to secure the assurances of all sides over their full commitment to the action plan.

"The EU has a heavy responsibility to ensure all sides remain committed to JCPOA," said Rouhani, who was reelected in a landslide on May 19.

The executive chief highlighted that an opportunity emerged in the wake of the deal for closer trade engagement between Tehran and Brussels, saying, "There is no limit to expansion of bilateral ties."

  Wrong Step

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also condemned Trump's hawkish stance in talks with his European counterpart earlier in the day.

In a letter to the UN Security Council, the US and its European allies called Iran's recent launch of a satellite-carrying rocket "a threatening and provocative step" that is "inconsistent" with a UN resolution endorsing the nuclear deal, AP reported on Wednesday.

Zarif criticized the move by western parties to JCPOA as "a step in the wrong direction".

The US administration immediately responded to the rocket test by adding six Iranian entities to its list of sanctions.

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