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EU reiterates commitment to Iran deal amid US threat to scrap it

The EU foreign policy chief has reaffirmed the bloc’s commitment to the 2015 international nuclear agreement between Iran and six other countries in the face of the belligerent US rhetoric against the accord.

“At a time of acute nuclear threats the European Union is determined to preserve the JCPOA as a key pillar of the international non-proliferation architecture,” Federica Mogherini said in Luxembourg on Thursday.

The JCPOA stands for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the nuclear deal reached between Iran and the US, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany is officially called.

She also described the agreement as “the culmination of 12 years of diplomacy facilitated by the European Union” and endorsed by United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.

“The European Union is committed to the continued full and effective implementation of all parts of the JCPOA. The European Union underlines that the lifting of nuclear related sanctions has a positive impact on trade and economic relations with Iran,” she added.

Under the deal, Iran undertook to apply certain limits to its nuclear program in exchange for the termination of all nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran.

Donald Trump, who rose to the US presidency a year after the implementation of the deal had begun, has opposed it.

On Friday, Trump refused to certify Iran’s compliance with the terms of the nuclear accord under a domestic American law, kicking a decision to Congress over whether to restore sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

He also threatened to “terminate” the JCPOA if he could not “reach a solution working with Congress and our allies” to change it.

On Monday, Trump further termed the JCPOA “a horrible deal for the United States” and warned that the agreement’s “total termination” was “a very real possibility.”

Elsewhere in her comments, Mogherini said the EU “encourages” Washington to maintain its commitment to the JCPOA.

Russia supports JCPOA

Separately on Thursday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Ryabkov in Moscow.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi (1st from R) meets with his Russian counterpart Sergei Ryabkov in Moscow, October 19, 2017. (Photo by IRNA)

During the meeting, Ryabkov said Moscow remains committed to the Iran nuclear deal, according to a statement by Russia’s Foreign Ministry.

He also stressed that Moscow and Tehran could not be indifferent to the “irresponsible” US stance on the JCPOA, IRNA reported.

The Iranian official, for his part, said the JCPOA is not a bilateral agreement between Iran and the US, but rather an international document that is endorsed by the UN Security Council.

“We should not allow a country to make decision for the world and I think that Russia and Iran share a common stance on this issue,” Araqchi pointed out.

Iran deal valid despite US move: France

French foreign minister also said after a meeting with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano that Paris remains committed to the agreement.

The deal “remains valid despite the decision of the president of the United States not to certify its implementation,” Jean-Yves Le Drian said in Paris on Thursday.

Amano, for his part, emphasized that IAEA inspectors had encountered no problem in Iran’s nuclear activities since Trump’s refusal to certify Tehran’s compliance with the accord.

The IAEA, he said, continues its “control and verification activities without any problems.”

“Iran is implementing commitments regarding nuclear, taken within the framework of JCPOA. Also, we’ve had access to all the places that we needed to visit,” he said.

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