EU Says Iran Nuclear Deal ‘Does Not Belong to One Country’ But to the World

By Patrick Goodenough | July 12, 2017 | 4:47am EDT
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Brussels on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. (Screengrab: European External Action Service)

( – In response to President Trump’s calls for countries to stop doing business with Tehran, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Tuesday that the Iran nuclear deal – under which many sanctions have been lifted – does not belong to one country but to the world.

Speaking to reporters alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Brussels, Mogherini said the E.U. respects the fact that the Trump administration is conducting a review of U.S. policy on Iran.

“But we have also the duty to make it clear,” she continued, “the nuclear deal does not belong to one country. It belongs to the international community, to the United Nations system.”

Mogherini recalled that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the negotiated agreement is known, had been enshrined in a U.N. Security Council resolution in July 2015.

“It was endorsed by the U.N. Security Council with a resolution and I think we share responsibility to make sure that this continues to be fully implemented by all,” she said.

Mogherini, whose position as the E.U.’s top diplomat makes her the overseer of the JCPOA, was responding to a question about Trump’s appeals to foreign leaders at the recent G20 summit for countries to stop trading with Iran.

On Monday, White House principal deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders said that in the president’s meetings with more than a dozen leaders in Hamburg, “he underscored the need for nations to join together to strip terrorists of their funding, territory and ideological support -- and to stop doing business with nations that sponsor terrorism, especially Iran.”

Citing both security and economic interests, Mogherini noted that since the JCPOA implementation began, trade and investments between E.U. member states and Iran had increased “in terms of double digits, and this will continue.”

“We see a security interest to not only fully implement the nuclear deal but also engage with Iran,” she said. “And we see also, obviously, an economic interest on the European Union side.”

Mogherini said the 28-member union is “united” on ensuring that the JCPOA is “fully implemented.”

“We will ensure that engagement with Iran will continue and that the deal will be implemented in all its parts, by all,” she said. “This means the nuclear part, this means also all the rest like the lifting of sanctions, as you know, and the gradual reengagement in all sectors.”

“This is something that the European Union is doing, member states are doing, and we are committed to continue to do it.”

Negotiated by the U.S. and its P5+1 partners – Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany – the JCPOA offered Iran sanctions relief in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

The Obama administration characterized the accord as a foreign policy triumph, a deal that ensures all pathways to an Iranian nuclear bomb have been cut off.

Critics, including some leading some non-proliferation experts, have voiced concern that it could allow Iran to become a nuclear weapons threshold state once sunset provisions expire, after periods ranging from 10 to 25 years.

While campaigning for the presidency, Trump vowed to tear up or re-negotiate what he described as one of the worst deals he had ever seen.

On April 18, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that the president had ordered an interagency review into the JCPOA, to determine whether the suspension of sanctions under the agreement was vital to U.S. national security interests.

That review is ongoing.

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