In sharp rebuke to Trump, EU’s foreign policy chief says deal will stay in place.
The EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said Friday that the United States had no right to unilaterally terminate the Iran nuclear accord. She called the agreement “effective” and said there had been “no violations of any of the commitments” in the deal.
At a news conference at the European Commission’s Brussels headquarters, Mogherini gave a strongly-worded rebuke of the U.S., which has been a chief ally of the EU on security matters, including the response to Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine.
Her comments were aimed directly at U.S. President Donald Trump, moments after he gave a speech in Washington saying he would not certify Iran’s compliance with the agreement, and was asking Congress to adopt legislation that would potentially trigger the reimposition of sanctions on Tehran.
“More than two years ago, exactly in July 2015, the entire international community welcomed the results of 12 years of intense negotiations on the Iran nuclear program,” Mogherini said, adding: “It is not a bilateral agreement. It does not belong to any single country. And it is not up to any single country to terminate it. It is a multilateral agreement, which was unanimously endorsed by the United Nations Security Council.”
Joining Mogherini in what amounted to extraordinary isolation of the U.S. president, French President Emmanuel Macron, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a joint statement reaffirming their support for the accord, which they described as “in our shared national security interest.”
The Iran nuclear agreement was brokered by what the EU calls the E3+3 — the U.K., France and Germany, along with the United States, Russia and China. The group is also known as the P5+1, referring to the permanent members of the Security Council, plus Germany. The Security Council endorsed the deal in a unanimous resolution.
Mogherini said the agreement — known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA — had made the world safer, and there was no reason to believe Iran had failed to keep up its end of the bargain.
“It is a robust deal that provides guarantees and a strong monitoring mechanism so that Iran’s nuclear program is and will remain exclusively for civilian purposes only,” she said. “We cannot afford as an international community, as Europe for sure, to dismantle a nuclear agreement that is working and delivering, especially now.”
“The International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA, has verified eight times that Iran is implementing all of its nuclear-related commitments, following a comprehensive and strict monitoring system,” Mogherini said. “There have been no violations of any of the commitments included in the agreement.”
Mogherini noted the recent “acute nuclear threat” — an apparent reference to North Korea, which Trump has threatened to “utterly destroy.”
“The international community, and the European Union with it, has clearly indicated that the deal is, and will continue to be, in place” — Federica Mogherini
And she issued a remarkably stinging description of Trump’s break with the international community that suggested Washington’s credibility as the leader on global security issues was in jeopardy. Mogherini’s declaration that Europe and the international community would not follow Trump’s lead came after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke by telephone with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif earlier on Friday to reiterate Moscow’s commitment to the nuclear agreement.
“The United States domestic process, and I underline domestic, following today’s announcement of President Trump is now in the hands of the United States Congress,” Mogherini said. “The JCPOA is not a domestic issue, but a U.N. Security Council resolution. The international community, and the European Union with it, has clearly indicated that the deal is, and will continue to be, in place.”