President Donald Trump has repeatedly suggested that he would prefer to withdraw from or renegotiate the Iran nuclear deal. He has called it “the worst deal ever negotiated.” In stark contrast, the other parties to the agreement — China, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, the United States, and the European Union — have hailed it as a success.
On January 10, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif traveled to Moscow and met with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov. They criticized U.S. policy toward the deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and agreed that disrupting implementation “would run counter to the goal of maintaining international and regional security and stability.”
Zarif continued onto Brussels, where he discussed the future of the deal with top British, French, German and E.U. diplomats on January 11. “Unity is essential to preserve a deal that is working, that is making the world safer, that is preventing a nuclear arms race in the region,” said E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, after the talks. “We agree on this approach, we want to protect [the deal] against every possible decision that might undermine it,” added German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel. The meeting was held one day before President Donald Trump was expected to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran. The United States must renew sanctions waivers every 120 days as part of the agreement. The following are excerpted remarks by top officials from countries party to the deal.
E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini
"I decided to convene today in Brussels a meeting of the European Union and the Foreign Ministers of France [Jean-Yves Le Drian], Germany [Sigmar Gabriel] and the United Kingdom [Boris Johnson] with the Foreign Minister of Iran [Mohammad Javad Zarif], in agreement with him - here in Brussels.
The focus of today's meeting was on the ongoing work to ensure the full and continued implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], the nuclear deal with Iran, by all parties.
The European Union has had and expressed a very clear position on the nuclear deal, as it was stated by the 28 European Union Member States' Ministers, already in October last year, and repeated again today.
The deal is working; it is delivering on its main goal, which means keeping the Iranian nuclear programme in check and under close surveillance.
The IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] has confirmed in nine reports that Iran is fully complying with the commitments made under the agreement. Its continued successful implementation ensures that Iran's nuclear programme remains exclusively peaceful. And by the way, this is regularly discussed in the framework of the Joint Commission [of the JCPOA] which I am coordinating.
The nuclear agreement is a multilateral agreement endorsed by the UN Security Council with a Resolution. It is a key element of the nuclear non-proliferation global architecture and it is crucial for the security of the region, but also for the security of Europe. It is in our key strategic security interest as Europeans. At a time of acute nuclear threat, the European Union is determined to preserve the JCPOA as a key element of the international non-proliferation architecture.
The European Union remains committed to support the full and effective implementation of the agreement, including to make sure that the lifting of nuclear related sanctions has a positive impact on trade and economic relations with Iran, including benefits for the Iranian people.
The agreement has allowed for deeper cooperation and continuous dialogue with Iran on all issues. While we have expressed concerns related to other issues, such as development of ballistic missiles and increasing tensions in the region, these issues are outside the scope of the nuclear agreement and are and will be addressed in the relevant formats and fora. We also briefly obviously discussed internal recent events in Iran.
Let me conclude by saying that the unity of the international community is essential to preserve a deal that is working, that is making the world safer and that is preventing a potential nuclear arms race in the region. And we expect all parties to continue to fully implement this agreement."
—Jan. 11, 2018, remarks at the press statements following a meeting of EU/E3 and Iran on the implementation of the JCPOA
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel
“We agree on this approach, we want to protect [the deal] against every possible decision that might undermine it.”
“It is absolutely necessary to have this to prevent the development of nuclear weapons at a time when other parts of the world are discussing how to get them.”
—Jan. 11, 2018, according to Reuters
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
The Iran nuclear deal makes the world safer. European partners were unanimous today in our determination to preserve the deal and tackle Iran’s disruptive behaviour. pic.twitter.com/dw8zwUXwS5— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) January 11, 2018
"Thank you very much. I’m really going to echo what [German Foreign Minister] Sigmar Gabriel and [French Foreign Minister] Jean-Yves Le Drian have already said. This was a very important meeting. It’s very important that as Europeans we come together to express a common view.
That is, number one, that we greatly value the JCPoA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], the nuclear deal with Iran, we think it is a considerable diplomatic accomplishment. It’s a way of stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. As my colleagues have said, Iran is in compliance with this agreement according to the International Atomic Energy Authority, and that is very, very important to us.
But it is also clearly important to build worldwide support for this deal and that Iran should be able to show, as my colleagues have said, that it is a good neighbour in the region. That’s why it’s legitimate and right that we should, in parallel, not connected with the JCPoA, but in parallel, focus on what Iran can do to resolve the appalling crisis in Yemen, to help push forward a peace in Syria and to help resolve other questions in the region.
I want to stress, just in conclusion, that I don’t think anybody has so far produced a better alternative to the JCPoA as a way of preventing the Iranians from going ahead with their acquisition of a nuclear capability. I don’t think anybody has come up with a better idea. And I think it is incumbent on those who oppose the JCPoA to come up with that better solution, because we haven’t seen it so far.
I also think that if we can keep the deal going, which I very much hope that we can, that the Iranian people should see the economic benefits that will flow from the JCPoA. And that’s why the UK government together with our friends and partners in France and Germany, and of course other EU countries and [EU High Representative] Federica Mogherini, will continue to work for the continuation of the JCPoA."
― Jan. 11, 2018, in a statement
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian
“There is no indication today that could call into doubt Iranian respect of the agreement.”
—Jan. 11, 2018, according to The Guardian
Press Release on Mr. Le Drian’s participation in a ministerial meeting with Javad Zarif
A meeting between the French, British and German ministers of foreign affairs and their Iranian counterpart, together with the high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy, took place today in Brussels.This meeting provided an opportunity for the parties to reiterate their positions on the Iranian nuclear agreement and to take stock of its implementation.
France is determined to preserve the Vienna agreement, which it helped strengthen during the negotiations and from the start of the implementation phase. This agreement is binding upon us as it is on all countries that signed it. This is true for the nuclear component – and Iran must strictly implement its commitments – as well as the economic component. This agreement has also been recognized by the UN Security Council as the solution to a crisis that has lasted more than 10 years.
Other concerns, beside the nuclear issue, must be addressed.
Iran’s ballistic missile program is inconsistent with UNSCR 2231 and is a destabilizing factor in the region. The information regarding the transfer of missiles and assistance from Iran to countries and non-state entities in the region is of serious concern. This is why Iran’s ballistic missile program must be monitored. We call on Iran to put an end to the ballistic missile launches inconsistent with the resolution and to respond to the offer of dialogue on this issue. The EU must remain active on this issue.
Iran’s action in the region, notably in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, must also be discussed because it gives rise to tensions that cannot be ignored.
Today’s meeting also provided an opportunity for Jean-Yves Le Drian to express, once again, France’s concerns, as well as its willingness to hold a rigorous dialogue with Iran on each of these issues.
Furthermore, France pays close attention to respect for the rights and freedoms of the Iranian people in the context of the demonstrations that have been taking place in Iran since December 28. This is the position expressed by President Macron, which was reaffirmed during the meeting of the UN Security Council on January 5 in New York.
—Jan. 11, 2018, in a press release
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
“It is important to exchange views on the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding Iran’s nuclear programme. We note that IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano stated in clear terms that Iran is fully complying with its commitments. We will continue upholding the viability of this programme and its major contribution to the consolidation of regional stability and the resolution of the issue of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We will also exchange opinions on other regional issues. Regrettably, the Middle East and Southwest Asia are not becoming more stable, and it is important for us to regularly coordinate our positions.”
― Jan. 10, 2018, in opening remarks during talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif
Press Release on meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif
During their conversation, the officials focused on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) concerning the Iranian nuclear programme in view of the continuing counterproductive US policy in this respect. They reaffirmed their commitment to the stable implementation of the JCPOA and their intentions to comply with the obligations in the plan. They expressed their mutual opinion that the possible disruption of the JCPOA, due to Washington’s policy, would run counter to the goal of maintaining international and regional security and stability, and have a negative effect on multilateral efforts in nuclear non-proliferation.
The ministers agreed to continue close bilateral contact on this subject.
― Jan. 10, 2018, in a meeting, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry’s press release
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi
"Pulling the U.S. out of the deal would not only erode the credibility of the U.S. It would also deal a heavy blow to the international nuclear non-proliferation drive, and set a bad precedent that would surely hamper the ongoing multinational efforts at finding a peaceful solution to the Korean Peninsula nuclear deadlock through negotiation.”
—Sept. 22, 2017, according to the China Daily
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Strong consensus in Brussels today: 1)Iran is complying with #JCPOA, 2)Iranian people have every right to all its dividends, 3)any move that undermines JCPOA is unacceptable. E3 and EU fully aware that Iran’s continued compliance conditioned on full compliance by the US. pic.twitter.com/vpib5DQT18— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 11, 2018
Conferred with FM Lavrov in Moscow today; on to Brussels to engage with E3 FMs & EU High Rep Mogherini. Everyone agrees it is imperative that ALL live up to their obligations under JCPOA. IAEA has verified Iran's full compliance, but continuation will depend on full US compliance pic.twitter.com/lrDVEBmRWz— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 10, 2018
Press Release on Meeting with European Diplomats
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has conferred on the Iran nuclear deal in a joint meeting with his French, British, and German counterparts and the EU foreign policy chief in Brussels.
During the Thursday talks, the top diplomats exchanged views on the measures required under the current circumstances to guarantee the continued implementation of the nuclear deal and commitment of all parties to it.
The Iranian top diplomat underlined the need for all sides, particularly the EU and European countries, to remain committed to the implementation of JCPOA in current situation.
EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel all emphasized the commitment of their respective governments to the implementation of JCPOA as a unique achievement of multilateral diplomacy.
Zarif also held separate meetings with his British and German counterparts and EUs Mogherini to discuss issues of mutual interest.
― Jan. 10, 2018, in a meeting, according to the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s press release
Press Release on Meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian have held talks on the Iran nuclear deal in a meeting in the Belgian capital of Brussels.
During the Thursday talks, Zarif highlighted the need for all parties to the JCPOA to implement their commitments under the deal.
The Iranian top diplomat also called on European countries to play a more active role in this regard.
Le Drian, for his part, underlined the significance of JCPOA implementation and Frances resolve in this respect.
The two sides emphasized the importance of stability and security in the region and the need for peaceful resolution of regional crises through dialogue and political consultation.
The French FM also thanked his Iranian counterpart for inviting him to visit Tehran, and stressed that he will make the trip soon.
― Jan. 10, 2018, in a meeting, according to the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s press release
Ali Akbar Salehi, Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran
"If the United States does not implement its commitments under the JCPOA, the Islamic Republic of Iran will take decisions that can affect its current cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.”
― Jan. 10, 2018, according to PressTV