The European Union once again voiced its disapproval of any US policy to reimpose the nuclear sanctions against Iran. In a meeting with editors and reporters at Bloomberg's Washington bureau on Monday, David O'Sullivan, the EU ambassador to the US, ruled out the possibility of reimposing the nuclear sanctions on Tehran under different, non-nuclear pretexts, particularly to punish the Middle Eastern nation for its missile defense program, and stressed that Brussels deems the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the nuclear deal, necessary for its security and is opposed to any moves and measures that could pose any risks to the agreement.
This comes as a few while ago, The New York Times, an American newspaper, claimed that Europeans had consented to making three changes and revisions to the deal.
These contradictory news and stances are announced about and adopted toward, respectively, the JCPOA by different states, particularly European countries, concurrent with the intensification of the US pressures on Iran over issues other than the country’s peaceful nuclear program and the JCPOA, mainly its missile defense program.
On Monday, a meeting was held at the United Nations Security Council to condemn and impose new sanctions on Iran. However, a few Western countries failed to achieve any of their desired goals in the session, as Russia vetoed the proposed resolution of the UK which was drafted with the support of the United States and France. The draft resolution was aimed at extending arms embargo on Yemen for another year and convicting Iran for its alleged violation of the restriction.
Speaking in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia on Tuesday night, Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif, commenting on the tabling of the anti-Iran resolution at the recent meeting of the UN Security Council, said, “What happened at the United Nations Security Council was a hideous display which aimed to support the country assaulting Yemen.”
Iran has repeatedly stressed that the JCPOA must not be revised or c
hanged. According to a claim by The New York Times, European countries have consented to making three major changes in the JCPOA including: 1. A commitment to renegotiate limits on missile testing by Iran; 2. An assurance, given by Iran, that inspectors have unfettered access to Iranian military bases; and 3. An extension of the deal’s expiration dates to prevent Iran from resuming the production of nuclear fuel long after the current restrictions expire in 2030. This comes as, in his Monday meeting, O'Sullivan stressed that the EU would not support reimposing of trade sanctions lifted under the nuclear deal under different pretexts, saying "That, in my view, is not going to work. We removed the sanctions which were part of the deal, and in good faith you cannot put back those sanctions without due cause."
Two months ago, US President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly described the nuclear deal with Iran as “terrible” during his election campaign and after entering the White House, gave the EU a 120-day deadline to fix the deal, or see the US abandon it. The Trump administration claims that the EU must close key loopholes that have allowed the Islamic Republic to continue sensitive nuclear research and develop advanced ballistic missiles.
In the same meeting, O'Sullivan noted that Brussels has reacted properly to Iran’s missile defense advances, describing the claim that the EU is indifferent to the country’s missile defense program as “complete mythology”, saying, "There is a complete mythology in the United States among some people that somehow we are only interested in trade with Iran and we are willing to sell our souls for the purposes of selling a few automobiles or a few airplanes – unlike Boeing. We are not in the business of selling our principles for the purposes of a few trade deals."
Commenting on the importance of the JCPOA to the EU, he said "There is no problem that you can think of with Iran that would not be to the power of 100 worse if this was a nuclear-armed country. So for us, the first thing to do is to make sure this country doesn't have nuclear weapons. That's what the deal did and does in our view, and it is working."
He added the EU will try to find an accommodation with the US "because you're our friend and ally and we want to work with you”, adding, “But we will not do anything which jeopardizes the deal, which is absolutely fundamental to Europe’s national security. We will not renegotiate the deal, and we will not do anything which in our view puts the deal in jeopardy.”
O'Sullivan’s remarks are made after a few Western nations, including the US and its three European allies, the UK, France and Germany, failed to condemn Iran for the baseless allegation that the country is supplying arms to Yemen's Houthis. They issued a joint statement and wrongly convicted Tehran for violating the arms embargo on Yemen.
"We condemn Iran's non-compliance, as described by the panel, which poses serious risks to peace and stability in the region," said the joint statement released by the US mission.
In addition, in a joint press conference with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, on Tuesday, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov expressed disagreement with any revisions or changes in the contents of the JCPOA, in response to the US moves to this end.
Lavrov said the international deal should be implemented.
Speaking at the same meeting, Le Drian reiterated France’s support for the 2015 nuclear accord signed by Tehran and six world powers.
Quoting French President Emmanuel Macron, he said France guarantees the continued implementation of the JCPOA and defends this international deal.
Shifting to Iran’s missile defense program, the French minister said he would bring up the matter when he would visit Tehran next week, and added, "We should maintain an open dialogue, talk about our disagreements."
*This article was first published in Farsi in Donya-Eqtesad daily newspaper.