Mogherini: EU to do whatever possible to keep deal alive
German Chancellor Angela Merkel robustly defended the European powers’ decision to stand by the Iran nuclear deal in the face of US criticism as she delivered a spirited backing Saturday of her multilateral approach to global affairs.
Merkel’s comments at the Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of top global defense and foreign policy officials, followed days of tension between Washington and Europe over Iran.
In Poland this week, US Vice President Mike Pence accused Germany, France and Britain of trying to “break” American sanctions on Iran and called on them to follow Washington in pulling out of the nuclear deal — a call that he renewed Saturday, speaking shortly after Merkel. The three European powers, along with Russia, China and the US, signed the 2015 agreement meant to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Merkel appealed for global cooperation on a range of issues including the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
She questioned whether the US decision to leave the agreement was the best way to address issues in the Middle East.
“The only question is how we attain our mutual goal… Do we do that by terminating our agreement, or do we help it more by keeping the small anchor we have (via the nuclear deal)?” she asked. “This is a tactical question.”
After Markel’s speech Pence again pressed European countries to withdraw from the nuclear deal.
“The time has come for our European partners to stand with us,” Pence told the conference. “The time has come for our European partners to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.”
The US withdrew unilaterally last year from the deal and reinstated tough sanctions, leaving the remaining signatories scrambling to try and keep it alive.
Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, also defended the deal, saying that the bloc would do whatever possible to keep it alive.
Mogherini told the same conference on Friday that the bloc was determined to preserve the “full implementation” of the deal, saying it was vital to European security and an effective guarantor of peace.
“I believe if it was not for the European Union and its member states, starting with France, Germany and the UK, I am sure that the nuclear deal with Iran would have been dead long ago,” she said.
“We believe it is fundamental and crucial to our security, and a fundamental pillar for the nuclear non-proliferation architecture globally,” she added.
In Paris, France’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement in response to Pence’s call, saying that the country was standing by its commitment to the implementation of the Iran deal.
On the sidelines of the conference on Friday, Mogherini discussed the state of implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
During the meeting, Mogherini reiterated the EU’s firm determination to preserve the JCPOA, which continues to deliver on its objectives and is crucial for both regional and global security, according to the EU External Action Service’s website.
She also underlined the need for continued, full and effective implementation of the deal by all parties, and in this regard both Mogherini and Zarif discussed the recent registration of INSTEX in France and committed to work together for its further operationalization.
Europe on Jan. 31 officially announced the creation of its Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) – officially called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchange (INSTEX) – which was launched in a bid to protect trade ties with Tehran against American sanctions. The mechanism was registered by France, Germany and the UK in Paris, and will, in its initial stage, facilitate the trading of humanitarian goods such as food, medicine and medical devices.
AP, Reuters and Press TV contributed to this story.