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US, European partners pledge to 'revive' alliance

February 6, 2021

The US, France, Germany, and the UK pledged to mend their alliance and work together to tackle Iran’s nuclear program. This marks a major shift from the Trump administration's "America First" approach.

US and EU flags
Image: picture-alliance/Ulrich Baumgarten

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, along with German, French, and British foreign ministers on Friday pledged to "revive" their transatlantic alliance, working together on issues such as Iran and the coronavirus. The virtual meeting was their first since President Joe Biden's inauguration last month.

"Productive discussion with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, and UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab today on COVID, Iran, Burma, and other pressing issues," Blinken tweeted on Friday, adding "the transatlantic relationship is central to solving global challenges." The Biden administration plans to take a friendlier approach towards European allies, after former President Donald Trump criticized European leaders on issues such as defense and trade.

A ‘united' approach on Iran

"The E3 and the US discussed how a united approach could address our shared concerns towards Iran," UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement about the meeting. The Biden administration has previously expressed willingness to re-enter the 2015 Iran deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), after the Trump administration chose to withdraw from the agreement in May 2018.

Le Drian said the four diplomats held an "important conversation on Iran," with all four countries tackling nuclear and regional security challenges "together."

The Iran deal has previously caused tension between the United States and Europe. Shortly before Trump announced the US would leave the deal, Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times urging Trump to stay in the agreement, with Johnson calling withdrawal "a mistake.”

'A violent confrontation is the last resort'

Although the Biden administration is looking at re-entering the deal, the State Department has said it would not do so until Tehran is in full compliance with the JCPOA. Blinken has previously vowed to consult with Israel before re-entering the agreement.

wd/dj (AP, Reuters)