Europe defies Trump on Iran sanctions
The leaders of Germany, France and Britain have backed the 2015 Iran nuclear pact, defying an order from Donald Trump to abandon the Obama-era agreement.
The three European leaders said the Iranian regime must comply with commitments within the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), including the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
“Despite increasingly difficult circumstances, we have worked hard to preserve the agreement. All remaining parties to the JCPOA, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and Iran, with the EU as coordinator, have stated their continuing commitment to preserve the JCPOA,” the three nations said in a joint statement.
“We urge Iran to reverse all measures inconsistent with the agreement and return to full compliance; we call on Iran to refrain from further violent action or proliferation; and we remain ready to engage with Iran on this agenda in order to preserve the stability of the region.”
Iran said in mid-2019 that it had breached the agreement by exceeding limits on low-enriched uranium.
“These actions must be reversed. We reserve recourse to all the provisions of the JCPOA to preserve it and to resolve the issues related to Iran’s implementation of its JCPOA commitments within its framework,” the three leaders said.
European Union foreign ministers are looking to prevent war between the US and Iran and stop Tehran manufacturing nuclear weapons.
After a ministerial gathering in Brussels, Josep Borrell, the EU’s new foreign affairs chief, said member states were “committed to preserving” the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement. The Spanish Socialist praised it for preventing Iran from acquiring atomic capability.
“The ministers have given me a strong mandate to carry out diplomatic efforts with all parties, including Iran, to contribute to the de-escalation in the region, to support political dialogue, and to promote a regional political solution,” he told the media in Brussels.
Borrell said targeted sanctions had been agreed against Iranian human rights offenders.
He called human rights a “clear priority for Europeans … and my mandate” after the summit.
The former Spanish foreign minister said: “We have agreed to launch the preparatory work for a global sanctions regime to address serious human rights violations which will be the European Union equivalent of the so-called Magnitsky Act of the United States.”
The 2012 Magnitsky Act targeted Russians deemed responsible for killing Russian tax lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. Congress has used the act to sanction individuals from around the world accused of human rights abuses.
“There was a strong consensus … to launch the preparatory work and the European External Action Service [the bloc’s diplomatic organisation] will prepare the documentation for this in order to prepare the equivalent of this act,” Borrell said. The foreign affairs chief said it showed the EU was taking firm steps to reaffirm its “global lead on human rights”.
EU representatives were keen to stress the legislation would not be solely designed to tackle Russians.
Esfahan. Iranian cultural assets have been threatened by Donald Trump. Picture credit: Wikimedia