On December 5, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to exchange views on recent developments in the Middle East and the Balkans. In remarks to the press, Mogherini reiterated that “continued implementation of the Iran nuclear deal is a key strategic priority for European security but also for regional and global security.” Tillerson highlighted Iran’s regional activities and that he looked forward to working with European partners to address Tehran’s support of armed groups like Hezbollah. The bilateral came a week before the Joint Commission was due to meet in Vienna to discuss implementation of the nuclear deal. The body is charged with monitoring implementation and resolving disputes. The following are excerpted remarks by Mogherini and Tillerson on Iran.
E.U. High Representative Federica Mogherini
We also discussed Iran, in particular the implementation of the nuclear deal with Iran. I have reaffirmed the European Union view that continued implementation of the Iran nuclear deal is a key strategic priority for European security but also for regional and global security. We have discussed the fact that there are other issues that we should discuss and tackle together, but they are not under the scope of the nuclear agreement and therefore we are willing to address them outside of the agreement itself. The European Union is willing to work closely with the United States on these issues on the basis of continued U.S. implementation of the nuclear deal. It was decided that nuclear deal would have been purely on nuclear issues back some 14 years ago, so now dismantling an agreement on nuclear issues that is working, as the IAEA has certified for nine times, would not put us in a better position to discuss all the rest on the country.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
We also discussed, as the high representative mentioned, our joint efforts under the JCPOA to hold Iran fully compliant with the terms of the JCPOA, fully enforce that agreement, but at the same time recognizing that Iran is carrying out a number of other destabilizing actions in the region. And we’ve seen this recently with ballistic missiles being fired from Yemen, which it’s our belief are sourced from Iran; their support for the Houthis, and the destabilizing effect that that has in Yemen. We also know of Iran’s destabilizing effect of exporting weapons and militia to Syria, an area of conflict, and their ongoing support for Hizballah, a terrorist organization. These issues and activities of Iran cannot be ignored and cannot go unanswered, and we intend to continue to take action to ensure Iran understands this is not acceptable to us, and we look forward to working with European partners in that regard as well. It’s a threat, I think, to many of our shared values.
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