EU Calls on US to Show Restraint Over Iran

EU Calls on US to Show Restraint Over IranEU Calls on US to Show Restraint Over Iran

The US needs to exercise “maximum restraint” to avoid escalating its dispute with Iran over the nuclear deal, EU foreign ministers in Brussels told US Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo on Monday.
They made clear that despite the US repudiation of the deal agreed between Iran and world powers in 2015, the EU stood by it and would do all it could to implement it in full, EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, told journalists, according to the Irish Times.
She added that the EU believes that Iran is in full compliance with all its commitments under the agreement.
The deal saw Iran agree to curb its nuclear activities in return to an easing of international sanctions.
In a clear reproach to the US, Mogherini said ministers had made it clear that they saw the International Atomic Energy Agency as the only body that could legitimately verify Iranian compliance with the deal. The agency had repeatedly done so.
The EU finds itself caught between an attempt by US President Donald Trump to scuttle the deal by upping pressure on countries to boycott trade with Iran, and a Tehran ultimatum last week to the EU that it must do more to protect those who do trade with it, or it will restart uranium stockpiling.



Iran’s Skepticism 

Iran is skeptical of the willingness of EU member states to use their special purpose vehicle, known as INSTEX, which is supposed to undertake cash payments around the dollar system to facilitate companies wanting to buy Iranian goods. 
Companies’ reluctance to do so, however, EU officials say, has more to do with concerns that they may face US retaliation.  
On the fringes of the EU foreign ministers’ meeting, ministers from France, the UK and Germany, the three-nation Iran contact group, and Mogherini held a session with Pompeo who had stopped off unexpectedly in Brussels.
Ahead of their meeting, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the Iran situation was in danger of escalating unintentionally and ending “with some kind of conflict”.
“What we need is a period of calm,” he said, “so that everyone understands what the other side is thinking and most of all to make sure we don’t put Iran back on the path to nuclearization. Because if Iran becomes a nuclear power, neighbors are likely to want to become nuclear powers; this is already the most unstable region in the world.”
Iran says its nuclear program is only for civilian applications and has no military dimensions. 
“This agreement is necessary for our security; nobody wants Iran to possess an atomic bomb,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters.

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