EU Bound to Protect JCPOA Against Trump

EU Bound to Protect JCPOA Against TrumpEU Bound to Protect JCPOA Against Trump

An EU diplomat said the bloc is bound by its international commitments to defend the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in the face of the aggressive line adopted by US President Donald Trump.

"EU has a responsibility for JCPOA vis-a-vis the world community," Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia in the European External Action Service Thomas Mayr-Harting said on Friday.

He was referring to the landmark accord by its official name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

"We've cooperated closely with Russia and continue to speak with the US administration and congress to defend the deal," Mayr-Harting was quoted by IRNA as telling the International DASI Conference in Vienna.

The action plan was negotiated between Tehran and P5+1 (the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany) to end over a decade of nuclear sanctions against Tehran in return for scaling down its nuclear program.

The EU was involved in the talks as the coordinator.

The UN-endorsed accord, however, has been severely attacked by Trump, who has branded it "the worst deal ever negotiated".

Trump has vowed to withdraw from the pact by declining to waive US sanctions unless the Europeans agreed to strengthen the deal's terms by consenting to a side agreement that would effectively eliminate provisions that allow Iran to gradually resume some advanced atomic work.

Iran has denied western allegations that it has been seeking a nuclear warhead and insists that its nuclear program has always pursued civilian purposes.

Trump's refusal to resign the sanctions waivers in May, as required every four months by US law, would spell the end of the deal.

***Big Question

An Austrian analyst warned at the conference about the consequences of Trump's withdrawal from the agreement.

"The risk is very high that the US will withdraw from JCPOA despite the fact that they legally can't do that. The big question is how the Iranians will react… You can't link the nuclear agreement with problems you might have with the Iranian foreign policy in the region" said Gerhard Mangott, professor of political science at the University of Innsbruck.  

Trump also wants tighter restrictions on Iran's ballistic missile program and Iran's regional role.

Tehran has rejected Trump's demand for a renegotiation of the JCPOA and for new constraints on its missile and regional activities.

London, Paris, and Berlin and the EU have also rejected Trump's call for revisiting the deal but share Trump's non-nuclear concerns about Iran and are working with his administration to find a way to address those concerns without violating JCPOA's terms.

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