EU’s Mogherini holding firm on saving JCPOA

Federica Mogherini

… by Press TV, Tehran

The JCPOA showdown continues

[ Editor’s Note: Zarif sent the EU a probe that Iran was getting tired of the EU saying it would stand by the deal but not informing Iran of how it would do that in practical terms.

Different EU officials have made nice “what we would like to do” statements, but no policy has been officially presented. Is the EU waiting for Trump to blink first and thus avoid a showdown? If so, that is a pipe dream.

But it might be stalling to get a few more of its ducks in a row. Last week it announced the major settlement with Gazprom on its gas pricing and the ability to resell Russian gas across EU country borders. The Russians were smart to resolve that issue now.

This strengthened the EU against US pressure to kill the Nordstream 2 project which the US has been trying to torpedo and force the EU into buying more expensive US LNG. Trump’s position there may be that if the EU is not going to pay its NATO dues then it has to make it up to the US in some other way.

The EU might also be wanting more time to coordinate with Russia and China on a “package deal” to buffer US sanctions on Iran as that would provide the most leverage in getting the US to adjust its position. US growing isolation at the hands of the Trump-Israel-NeoCon axis has not yet become a midterm elections campaign issue.

But with the Republican’s main political concern being how to not get hammered with the Democrats taking over Congress, the clearer they see the US isolation theme via deal braking and its “Sanctionista” quick draw policy backfiring via real US isolation prospects, that might move them to choosing the lesser of two evils … Jim W. Dean ]

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Can the EU hold together against US pressure to dominated it politically and economically?

–  First published … May 28, 2018

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says the bloc is determined to save a 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement signed between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries despite the United States’ move to withdraw from the deal.

Mogherini was speaking to reporters on Monday upon her arrival at the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels ahead of a meeting of the EU foreign ministers. This is the first meeting on ministerial level following the US pullout from the nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Today on the agenda of the foreign ministers, we have first and foremost our work to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran,” she said.

She added, “You know that we have been acting already at European Union level to put in place a set of measures to make sure that the nuclear agreement is preserved and the economic investments from the European side, but also from other sides in the world are protected.”

She noted that the EU foreign ministers plan to hold talks on the issue so that they would be able to “contribute and compliment on their side to the measures that we have put in place on the level of the European Union.”

US President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that Washington was walking away from the nuclear agreement, which was reached between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, Britain, France, Russia and China – plus Germany.

Trump also said he would reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that US enmity toward Iran was profound, but noted that all American plots against the country had failed since the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

During a meeting with heads of the three branches of the Iranian government as well as officials in Tehran, Ayatollah Khamenei referred to what he called “the fundamental, deep and constant enmity” of the US toward the Islamic Republic, adding that Iran would definitely defeat the US if Iranian officials fulfilled their duties.

Mogherini further said she would inform the ministers on the “good” meeting of the Joint Commission held in Vienna on Friday at the level of deputy ministers of all signatories to the JCPOA except the US and also Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano, who “certified for the eleventh time that Iran is fully compliant with all its nuclear-related commitments on the deal.”

In a report shown to the media on Thursday, the IAEA said Iran is observing the key restrictions under the nuclear agreement and called on the Islamic Republic to remain compliant with the JCPOA and even go beyond its legal obligations in order to boost international confidence in Tehran’s commitments.

After the US withdrawal, five signatories to the JCPOA and Iran met in Vienna on May 25 at Iran’s request and emphasized the importance of working together to explore ways to save the accord.

The parties indicated more confidence was built after the meeting in the capital of Austria.

It was the first meeting between China, Russia, France, Britain, Germany and Iran in a bid to save the Iran nuclear deal.

Mogherini also said the 28-nation bloc has been “working enormously these weeks” with Iran, France, Germany, Britain and other member states as well as some other international partners.

“The European Union decisions are taken by Europeans, are not exposed to decisions taken elsewhere and we have the instruments to accompany and protect our economic investments, especially when they match our security interests,” she added.

“This is the exercise we are doing; nobody believes it is going to be an easy exercise, but we are determined to do it,” the senior EU official pointed out.

Since the US president pulled Washington out of the historic nuclear deal, European countries have been scrambling to ensure that Iran gets enough economic benefits to persuade it to stay in the deal.

A senior Iranian nuclear negotiator said on Sunday that Iran will not continue talks with European sides of its nuclear deal, if it feels that European countries are wasting time.

“We will continue negotiations with the Europeans as long as we feel that they are moving in the right path and observing Iran’s time frame,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi told reporters.


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