Middle East

‘Deal is not dead’: EU will not reimpose sanctions on Iran

French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian said that the 'deal is not dead' (AFP)

The European Union said on Wednesday that it will stick to the Iran nuclear deal and not reimpose sanctions despite US President Trumps announcement that America would pull out.

"As long as Iran continues to implement its nuclear-related commitments… the EU will remain committed to the continued full and effective implementation of the nuclear deal," the 28 EU governments said in a joint statement.

"The lifting of nuclear-related sanctions is an essential part of the agreement… The EU stresses its commitment to ensuring that this can continue to be delivered," the statement said.

On Tuesday, Trump said he would withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal, that was aimed at curbing Irans nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief, and reimpose US sanctions, despite last-minute pleas by Britain, France and Germany to change his mind.


The Iran nuclear deal, explained in six graphics

Trump has repeatedly criticised the deal signed between Iran and the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, describing it on Tuesday as "a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made".

On Wednesday, France's foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told French radio that the deal was not dead and that France wanted to stick to it.

"The deal is not dead. There's an American withdrawal from the deal but the deal is still there," he said.

"The region deserves better than further destabilisation provoked by American withdrawal. So we want to adhere to it and see to it that Iran does too, that Iran behaves with restraint."

The EU 28's statement on the deal and sanctions echoed comments from the EU's top diplomat Federica Mogherini on Wednesday.

"The nuclear deal is not a bilateral agreement and it is not in the hands of the of any single country to terminate it unilaterally," Mogherini said regarding Trump's announcement.

Macron to speak to Rouhani

French President Emmanuel Macron was scheduled to speak with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani later on Wednesday, followed by high-level talks between the Iranians and Britain and Germany, as well as France, Le Drian said.

Meetings would also be held with the likes of oil giant Total and others with major business and economic stakes in the region, he added.

Le Drian said France, like others, was well aware that there were concerns about issues beyond Iran's nuclear capability, namely its ballistic weapons programme, but said they could be addressed without ditching the nuclear deal.

"Yes, there is a real risk of confrontation," he said. "I hope it will not be a setback for peace," he added.

German's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also said that Berlin wanted to remain committed to the deal and that the US had offered no alternatives.

The deal is working. We want to keep in place the controls and transparency rules," Maas said during a news conference.

"This is especially so given that it is totally unclear what the U.S. envisages as an alternative to the deal that prevents Iran from developing nuclear weapons while being able to verify compliance."

European businesses with interests in Iran said they were monitoring developments after Trumps move.

"Like other economic players, we are following the evolution of the matter, and are also following the EU's official position on this topic," said a spokesman for Peugeot-manufacturer PSA, a business with operations in the country.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told French radio that Trump's decision on Iran was a mistake and that the United States should not consider itself as the world's "economic policeman".

Original Article


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