Friday, 22 June, 2018

Iran urges Europe to help protect nuclear deal

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi
Jay Anderson | 08 March, 2018, 02:11

France's foreign minister traveled to Tehran on Monday promising tough talk on Iran's ballistic missile program but was met with stiff resistance from his Iranian counterpart, who said Western arms deals had turned the Middle East into a "gunpowder depot".

Shamkhani made the remarks in a meeting with the visiting French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in the capital Tehran.

Any collapse of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers would be a "great loss", the head of the United Nations atomic agency policing the accord said on Monday, alluding to a USA threat to pull out of it.

Washington put pressure on the European signatories of the agreement to impose some clauses against the Iranian missile program that does not fall within the spirit and letter of the nuclear agreement.

In December, Tehran advised Paris to be careful in its views about the Islamic Republic after French President Emmanuel Macron called for talks on Iran's ballistic missiles.

The interview came on the same day Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - in America for the annual AIPAC conference in Washington, DC - was slated to meet with US President Donald Trump to discuss the JCPOA.

Trump had threatened to scuttle the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal unless amendments were made to it.




The head of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday that "Iran is implementing its nuclear related commitments" and that "it is essential that Iran continues to do so". But diplomats familiar with the IAEA's thinking have said the Trump administration's view arises from a poor understanding of how the IAEA does its work in Iran.

However, Zarif noted that the nuclear deal, internationally known as JCPOA, is a multilateral agreement and its fate can not be subjected to the whims of Washington.

The deal is "international diplomatic achievement", and it should be protected, he stressed.

"Today, I am waiving the application of certain nuclear sanctions, but only in order to secure our European allies' agreement to fix the awful flaws of the Iran nuclear deal", Trump said in a statement.

For his part, Le Drian hailed Iran's commitment to the JCPOA, saying that France insists on the full implementation of the deal.

"The United States and other countries that have turned our region into a gunpowder depot by selling arms must stop such actions", Zarif said, according to a report by the semi-official ISNA news agency.

"We want to preserve the nuclear deal because it is working, it's robust and because the Iranians are respecting it", his team told AFP ahead of the visit.

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