On 13 October, US President Donald Trump announced that he will decertify the Iran nuclear deal and unveiled his future plans on the issue. Rather than urging the Congress to immediately re-impose nuclear-related sanctions on the country, he called for a new legislation that could trigger penalties down the line. He also unveiled other initiatives aimed at reining in the long-time US nemesis, including plans for new sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard military corps over allegations that it supports terrorism.
Reactions in Europe and Russia were swift and unanimous
On the day of the announcement, October 13, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke by telephone with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to reiterate Moscow’s commitment to the nuclear agreement. High Representative Federica Mogherini stressed that Europe was united behind the Iran deal, which has been positively assessed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Joining Mogherini, French President Emmanuel Macron, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a joint statement reaffirming their support for the deal.
EU countries remain committed to the deal
On 16 October, EU Foreign Ministers gathered for the Foreign Affairs Council and issued a joint statement reaffirming their commitment to “the continued full and effective implementation of all parts of the deal.” They suggest imposing new punitive measures on Iran if warranted on other issues, but only outside of the nuclear agreement and called for lobby and dialogue to avoid an Iran-US military confrontation, especially at times of escalating tensions with North Korea.
In the margins of the meeting, some Ministers laid out their positions
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called on the EU to exert “pressure on Congress… so that the American Congress does not call this agreement into question.” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius warned that a more isolationist America would cut the transatlantic ties and eventually strengthen Russia. However, he underlined that there was still room for dialogue and tried to express optimism that the gap with Washington could be bridged. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel expressed disbelief at Trump’s apparent desire to dismantle the achievements of the previous president, like the health care system, the Paris agreement, and now the Iran deal.
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