EU Sees No Parallel Between Tehran, Pyongyang

The top EU diplomat defended the Iran nuclear deal as a major victory for diplomacy over warmongering in resolving the toughest international conflicts
Federica Mogherini
Federica Mogherini

EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, dismissed the idea that the same diplomacy adopted with Iran leading to the 2015 nuclear deal could be applied to the nuclear dispute with North Korea.

"Again, I do not particularly like the parallels between the situation in Iran and in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea: the political systems are very different; the histories are very different; the two countries are completely different," Mogherini said in an address to the European Parliament's plenary session Tuesday on the situation in DPRK.

"I do not think it is a good service to the reality of history and of the current situation to make a parallel between the two. But for sure, yes, the competence, the know-how, the skills, the experience of the European Union in this field are ready to be used to accompany such a process, provided we start to see an opening in the political will to seriously engage to find a peaceful solution to this tension," she said, according to a transcript of her remarks posted on the European External Action Service's website.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday she would be prepared to become involved in a diplomatic initiative to end the North Korean nuclear and missile programs, and suggested that negotiations held to reach the Iran nuclear deal could be a model.

Days earlier Pyongyang conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test, rattling global financial markets and escalating tensions in the region.

"If our participation in talks is desired, I will immediately say yes," Merkel said referring to the EU-coordinated talks that led to the landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers in 2015.

Under the accord, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear work, which it says has always been for peaceful applications, in return for sanctions relief.

The international deal, however, is under attack from hawkish US President Donald Trump who has vowed to either kill it or revisit its terms that he claims are too lenient on Iran.

While Iran's compliance has been fully verified in the documented quarterly reports of the UN nuclear watchdog, Trump has piled pressure on the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect the Islamic Republic's military facilities, a demand Iran has rejected.

Trump's stance has met the opposition of Washington's European allies and other signatories to the accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

  Major Victory

Mogherini again defended the action plan as a major victory for diplomacy over warmongering in resolving the toughest international conflicts.

"The support we give to the IAEA; the support we give to the CTBTO [Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization]; and clearly, the support we give and will continue to give to the full implementation of the Iran nuclear deal that has shown to the world that with patience, perseverance, diplomacy and political will, nuclear non-proliferation is, indeed, achievable," she said.

Iran has consistently denied western allegations of the militarization of its nuclear program.

Despite IAEA's verification and Mogherini's reassertion of the EU support for JCPOA, a US State Department spokesperson, Heather Nauert, reiterated the Trump administration's strong suspicion about Iran's commitment to the accord.

"What I can tell you: We're continuing to conduct a full review of our Iran policy. That has certainly not changed … We will continue to look to the IAEA to conduct inspections, to continue to monitor and verify all of Iran's nuclear commitments to make sure that they are adhering to those nuclear commitments," said a transcript of her remarks carried by the State Department's website.  

"We also note Iran's continued activities. We believe that Iran is not in compliance with the spirit of the JCPOA, because the JCPOA's agreement calls for regional and international peace and security. We don't believe that Iran is in compliance with that. We certainly believe that they are in default of the spirit."

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