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Federica Mogherini
Federica Mogherini

Strong European Backing for 2015 Nuclear Accord

The EU encourages the US to maintain its commitment to the nuclear pact and consider the implications for the security of the US, its partners and the region before taking any steps
The top EU diplomat said the nuclear deal is working and crucial to Europe's security, so she expects a strong signal of European unity in support of the accord

Strong European Backing for 2015 Nuclear Accord

European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said on Monday she expected strong backing from EU foreign ministers for the 2015 nuclear deal, which US President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized.
"It's an agreement that is working. It's an agreement that we need for our security and I would expect from the ministers today a strong signal of European unity and its support, and the full commitment to have it implemented by all sides," Mogherini told reporters before a foreign ministers' meeting in Luxembourg, Reuters reported.
In a statement released after the meeting, the EU said it is "committed to the continued, full and effective implementation of all parts of the JCPOA."
JCPOA is the official title of the nuclear deal, which stands for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
The EU also encouraged the US to maintain its commitment to the nuclear pact and consider the implications for the security of the US, its partners and the region before taking any steps.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned that threats from Trump to pull out from the accord could provoke military confrontation, adding that such a move could also exacerbate the North Korea crisis.
"As Europeans together, we are very worried that the decision of the US president could lead us back into military confrontation with Iran," Gabriel told reporters.
Gabriel said he would be discussing how to save the deal with his European Union colleagues.
Senior US administration officials said on Sunday the United States was committed to remaining part of the Iran nuclear accord for now, despite Trump's criticisms of the deal and his warnings that he might pull out.
Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, said Tehran is complying with the 2015 nuclear accord intended to curb Tehran's nuclear work in return for the lifting of some economic sanctions.
"I think right now, you're going to see us stay in the deal," Haley told NBC's "Meet the Press".
In a speech on Friday, Trump laid out an aggressive approach on Iran and said he would not certify it is complying with the nuclear accord, despite a determination by the UN nuclear watchdog that Tehran is meeting its terms.
The Republican hawk threw the issue to the US Congress, which has 60 days to decide whether to reinstate US sanctions. He warned that if "we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated."
So far, none of the other signatories to the deal, namely Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, Iran and the European Union, has cited any concern, leaving the US isolated.
Haley said the US was not saying that Iran was in breach of the agreement, but she raised concerns about its activities that are not covered by the pact, including weapons sales and sponsorship of resistance groups such as Hezbollah.
Haley said the US needed to weigh a "proportionate" response to Tehran's actions on the world stage.
"The goal at the end of the day is to hold Iran accountable," Haley said in the interview.
Haley and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hammered away at the need to address what they see as shortcomings in the two-year-old international accord while simultaneously placing pressure to rein in Iranian activities outside the scope of that deal.

***A Second Pact?
Tillerson, alluding to other signatory countries' opposition to reopening the Iran pact, raised the possibility of "a second agreement" to run parallel to the existing one.
Among the "areas of concern" he mentioned were the so-called sunset clauses and Tehran's ballistic missile program.
Haley also said the reason the US was looking closely at the Iran nuclear deal is because of escalating tensions over North Korea's nuclear weapons development.
"What we're saying now with Iran is don't let it become the next North Korea.," she said.
Unlike North Korea, which sees its nuclear arms as a deterrent against US hostilities, the Islamic Republic says such weapons have no place in its defense doctrine and that its nuclear program is totally for civilian purposes.
On Friday, Trump also said he was authorizing the US Treasury to sanction Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and on Sunday Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he was planning to move ahead.

 

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