News ID: 200882
Published: 0233 GMT September 19, 2017

UN chief, world leaders defend Iran nuclear deal

UN chief, world leaders defend Iran nuclear deal

France undertook a robust push at the ongoing United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting to make a case for why the United States should stay in a landmark, multilateral nuclear deal with Iran.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that Paris was committed to and supported the nuclear accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Macron made the remark in a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the UNGA in New York, where world leaders have gathered, Press TV reported.

The French president called for the full implementation of the JCPOA, adding that any renegotiation of the agreement would be “meaningless.”

The JCPOA was reached between Iran and six other countries — France, Russia, China, Britain, Germany, and the US — in July 2015 and took effect in January 2016. 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.

But since rising to the presidency in the US a year after the implementation of the Iran deal had begun, Donald Trump has been actively seeking a pretext to initiate an American withdrawal. All the other parties to the deal have in contrast stressed that the agreement must be sustained.

During the meeting with Macron, Rouhani said that the Trump administration’s behavior toward the JCPOA was “worrisome” for the international community.

“The JCPOA conveyed this message that complicated international issues could be resolved through dialogue and in a win-win framework, and any damage to it could transmit this dangerous message to the world that diplomacy cannot settle problems,” the Iranian president said.

Macron has said previously that France saw no alternative to the JCPOA.


French diplomacy

Earlier on Monday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had said that Paris would use meetings at the UN this week to persuade the US not to abandon the multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran.

“It’s essential to maintain (the deal) to prevent a spiral of proliferation” in the region, Le Drian warned ahead of a meeting between Trump and Macron.

“France will try to persuade President Trump of the importance of this choice,” he said, adding, however, that “work” may be necessary about the Iranian nuclear program after 2025, when Western countries believe certain provisions of the JCPOA will expire.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly verified Iran’s adherence to the terms of the JCPOA. Nevertheless, Trump has called the agreement “the worst deal ever” and threatened that he would not certify Iranian compliance at a future deadline under American law in mid-October.

This is while the IAEA and a Joint Commission are the sole official parties in charge of monitoring Iranian compliance.


Correct JCPOA implementation

The UN chief stressed the importance of the correct implementation of the JCPOA during a meeting with Rouhani.

Stressing that Iran is committed to the JCPOA, António Guterres noted that the UN wishes for closer cooperation with Tehran towards diplomatically solving regional countries’ issues.

In his turn, Rouhani called on the global body to do its best to implement the World Against Violence and Extremism (WAVE) resolution.

“Iran has engaged in valuable operations against terrorism in the region. Political solutions must be sought for regional problems,” he added.       

Rouhani also highlighted the importance of supporting Iraq’s Constitution and territorial integrity while stressing the dangers of the upcoming referendum in Iraq's Kurdistan region.

The region is adamant to hold an independence referendum on September 25 despite regional and international opposition. Critics say partitioning Iraq would be the last thing the country, scarred by years of violence, needs.


More EU efforts on JCPOA

Separately, on Monday, the Iranian chief executive held a meeting with his Austrian counterpart, Alexander Van der Bellen.

Rouhani stressed that the full implementation of the JCPOA benefited the European Union and the region, underlining the need for the bloc to increase its efforts to sustain the deal.

He said Iran welcomes boosting ties with the EU member states in all areas including science, new technologies and trade.

Rouhani said Iran has ample opportunities for investment in energy, road, railroad, banking and tourism where Austrian firms can have a share.

The Austrian president urged the reinforcement of Tehran-Vienna cooperation in all fields.

Van der Bellen also expressed Vienna’s willingness for direct investment in Iran.


Nuclear deal should not be undermined

Rouhani also sat down with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in New York.

The Iranian president appreciated the EU’s solid support for the JCPOA and warned that the Trump administration’s stance was inappropriate.

The JCPOA, Rouhani said, is an international agreement conducive to regional and global security and stability.

The Swedish premier said that the JCPOA should not be undermined and underscored the need for its full implementation and the removal of restrictions on business with Iran.

He further expressed satisfaction with the IAEA reports confirming Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA, saying that all parties to the accord should live up to their obligations.


US committed to no international obligation

Earlier in the day, Rouhani met his Bolivian counterpart, Evo Morales, in New York. He said the United States has failed to remain committed to any of its international obligations, stressing that Washington is not a reliable government.

“Today, you can see that the US is trampling on its agreements with Cuba and other countries, one after another,” Rouhani said.

Rouhani pointed to the White House’s intention to undermine the historic nuclear deal and said, “On the nuclear agreement, the Americans are looking for excuses, and the world can see what Iran has repeatedly announced is true: The US is not reliable.”

Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani said Iran and Bolivia had a common stance against hegemonic powers.

“The US is drawing up new plans and plots against developing countries on a daily basis, but it has always faced defeat,” Rouhani added.

He noted that the US has been seeking to use terrorism as a means in the Middle East, but regional nations, particularly the Iraqi and Syrian people, are defeating the vicious scourge, emphasizing that terrorism is on the verge of full elimination in the region.

The Bolivian president said the US had always pursued hostile policies in the world, particularly toward the Latin American countries, adding that the hegemonic powers sought to divide allied nations.

Morales urged independent countries to boost their relations and act in unison.


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