EU foreign policy chief says Iran nuclear deal should stay
BRUSSELS (AP) — Any talks between France and the United States on crafting a new nuclear deal with Iran can only “build on” on the current terms, the European Union’s chief policy chief said Wednesday.
Federica Mogherini’s remarks came in the wake of remarks from French President Emmanuel Macron after bilateral discussions with U.S. President Trump that work on a “new agreement” was possible.
Trump has been a consistent critic of the international agreement, calling the 2015 pact “insane” and “ridiculous.” However, he has declined to say whether he will withdraw the U.S. by the May 12 deadline he has set. Macron said during his state visit to the U.S. that the current deal should not be ripped apart without a clear path to the future.
“We are not discussing renegotiating the agreement — that is not what the two presidents were talking about,” Mogherini told reporters after an international conference on Syria.
“There will be more discussions between the French president and the president of the U.S. and those discussions can build on the continued implementation of the Iranian nuclear agreement.”
Germany, which was part of the agreement along with Iran, the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France, has thrown its weight behind Mogherini’s position.
“We want to preserve it, and we want to contribute to the United States remaining in this agreement after May 12,” said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
Trump said key flaws in the agreement are the failure to address ballistic missiles and Iran’s activities in Yemen and Syria. The European Union wants those issues addressed in other negotiations which would not muddle the nuclear agreement itself.
In Iran, President Hassan Rouhani sought to temper any ambition that the current deal could be changed, or even built on.
“We will not add anything to the deal or remove anything from it, even one sentence,” Rouhani said he told Macron in the past. “The nuclear deal is the nuclear deal.”