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EU powers urge Iran to back deal

January 12, 2020

Germany, France and the UK — who helped broker the 2015 accord — have urged Iran not to walk away. The treaty has come under increasing strain following the US killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

Mourners walk back from a funeral ceremony for Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and his comrades
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/V. Salemi

Germany, France and the United Kingdom have called on Iran to uphold the landmark 2015 deal that limits the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Boris Johnson released a joint statement late Sunday, saying it was "essential that Iran return to full compliance with its commitments under the agreement."

Read more: Iran crisis: Germany, France, UK urge de-escalation

The accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was a deal struck between Iran and the five permanent UN Security Council members — the United States, Russia, China, France and the UK — as well as Germany and the European Union.

Treaty hanging by a thread

Just last week, Iran said it would no longer abide by the deal's limits. Tehran announced on January 5 that it would continue its nuclear program "without limitation" following the US assassination of Qassem Soleimani, the powerful major general in charge of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force.

The treaty has come under increasing strain ever since President Donald Trump announced the US withdrawal from the deal in May 2018. This prompted the European Union to enact an updated blocking statute in an attempt at nullifying renewed US sanctions.

Read more: Germany, Russia see goals align amid tension in Middle East

Critical of both Iran and US

The statement from Merkel, Macron and Johnson continued: "We have expressed our deep concern at the actions taken by Iran in violation of its commitments since July 2019. These actions must be reversed."

"We must address — through diplomacy and in a meaningful way — shared concerns about Iran's destabilizing regional activities, including those linked to its missile program," they said.

"We reiterate our readiness to continue our engagement for de-escalation and stability in the region."

The leaders also reaffirmed their opposition to the US decision to pull out of the 2015 deal, which Trump last week described as "very defective." Trump said he would like to broker a new deal with fresh terms.

The joint appeal came after French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian welcomed his counterparts from Germany, the UK and the EU for emergency talks in Paris, with the JCPOA very much at the center of discussions.

"The immediate risk of war in the Middle East seems to have been averted, but the tensions that exist there will continue to follow us," said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas ahead of the meeting.

jsi/cmk (dpa, AFP)

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