0322 GMT March 20, 2019
Speaking at a conference in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, the EU’s Federica Mogherini said the agreement was “a major achievement of European and international multilateral diplomacy that is delivering”.
US President Donald Trump on Oct. 13 refused to certify that Tehran is complying with the accord even though international inspectors said it is.
But US lawmakers signaled this week they planned to ensure the United States complied with the agreement under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions.
Congress has until mid-December to decide whether to reimpose sanctions lifted under the deal.
Iran committed to nuke-free world
Addressing the same event, the International Conference on Security and Sustainable Development in Central Asia, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tehran has practically proved its commitment to nuclear non-proliferation by signing the 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers and remaining fully committed to the terms of the landmark pact.
By clinching the nuclear deal and fulfilling all our commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran proved in action proved its compliance with the principle of non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament, Zarif said on Friday.
The top diplomat further described the regime in Israel as an obstacle to the establishment of a nuclear-free Middle East.
Israel is estimated to have 200 to 400 nuclear warheads in its arsenal. The regime, however, refuses to either accept or deny having the weapons. It has also evaded signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Since 1974, Iran has seriously followed upon the proposal for the Middle East to become a Nuclear-Weapon-Free and WMD-Free Zone, but its efforts have failed to yield results due to Israel’s pursuit of nuclear arms with the US support, Zarif noted.
Macron backs Iran deal
French President Emmanuel Macron defended the JCPOA, saying that he wanted to keep the landmark deal despite opposition from Trump.
Macron repeated his support for the deal during talks late Thursday with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He flew in from a tour of the United Arab Emirates for his first face-to-face talks with the Saudi prince.
"I've heard some very hard positions" taken by Saudi Arabia against Iran, Macron told a news conference in Dubai before his visit, adding it was important to speak to all sides and that France had a role in making peace.
The visit came at a time of growing friction between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
But Macron said he was "concerned" by Iran's ballistic missile program. "There are negotiations we need to start on Iran's ballistic missiles," he said.
"Like what was done in 2015 for the nuclear activities, it's necessary to put a framework in place for Iran's ballistic activities and open a process, with sanctions if needed, of negotiation that would enable (that)."
Macron reaffirmed his intention to go to Iran as part of efforts to talk to all the actors in the Middle East, but warned about decisions that could destabilize the region further.
Termination of Iran deal, ‘crazy’
In an interview published Thursday, Macron warned that a termination of the nuclear accord as sought by the US would be "crazy" which could lead to a new conflagration.
Speaking with the Time magazine, he described the accord as "the best possible deal regarding Iran,” adding that if the US abrogates the JPCOA, it will backfire.
Macron said he had told Trump that "If you want to stop any relation with Iran regarding nuclear activity, you will create a new North Korea."
"If you stop the 2015 agreement, what's your other option? To launch war? To attack Iran? I think it would be crazy in the region," he added.
Iran sticking by JCPOA
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano once again confirmed that Iran has been complying with the 2015 nuclear agreement, and that the nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Tehran under the deal are being implemented.
During a visit to the United States, Amano met with US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. They discussed the UN nuclear watchdog’s verification and monitoring of Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the pact.
Amano called the JCPOA a significant gain for nuclear verification, and reiterated that Iran is in compliance with the provisions of its nuclear deal with the world powers.
He informed Haley about the IAEA’s strong and effective safeguards activities in Iran.
Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany signed the nuclear agreement on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.
The IAEA has repeatedly verified Iran’s adherence to the terms of the JCPOA since January 2016, when the deal took effect.
Amano also repeated his assessment that the agreement "represents a significant gain for nuclear verification," and that Iran's nuclear-related commitments "are being implemented."
The IAEA chief said the agency has "so far had access to all the locations it needed to visit" Iran, and will continue to work "in an impartial and factual manner."
Meanwhile, the US mission to the UN expressed Haley's appreciation for the UN watchdog's "expertise and professionalism."
Haley vowed the US would support the IAEA "in carrying out robust verification of nuclear-related activities in Iran" – also stressing the importance of "full and transparent access for the IAEA" in Iran.
Reuters, AFP and Press TV contributed to this story.