EU committed to Iran nuclear deal

16 October 2017

The European Union is determined to preserve the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPCOA) with Iran, the EU's General Council said today following US President Donald Trump's 13 October announcement that he would not certify Iran's compliance with the deal to the US Congress. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano said Iran's commitments under the agreement are being implemented.

Federica Mogherini pictured at a EU3/E3+3 and Iran ministerial meeting on JCPOA in September (Image: EU/European External Action Service)

The JCPOA was signed in July 2015 by Iran and the EU3/EU+3 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and the USA - also referred to as the P5+1 - plus the European Union) and implemented in January 2016. Under its terms, Iran agreed to limit its uranium enrichment activities, eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium and limit its stockpile of low enriched uranium over the next 15 years. The agreement cleared the way for the lifting of nuclear-related economic sanctions imposed against Iran.

The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA), passed by the US Congress in 2015, requires the US president periodically to certify that, among other things, Iran is fully implementing the agreement and that suspension of US sanctions is "appropriate and proportionate" to the measures being taken by Iran. Trump issued such certifications in April and July. The deadline for the next certification was 15 October.

"It is clearly not in the hands of any president of any country in the world to terminate an agreement of this sort."

Federica Mogherini,
EU Vice-President

Trump said the Iranian regime had committed "multiple violations" of the agreement, claiming it had exceeded limits on heavy water quantities, "failed to meet our expectations" in terms of uranium enrichment centrifuge operations, and "intimidated international inspectors into not using the full inspection authorities that the agreement calls for".

"Based on the factual record I have put forward, I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification," Trump said. He said work was under way in the US House and Senate to draft legislation to "strengthen" the INARA. "However, in the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated. It is under continuous review, and our participation can be cancelled by me, as President, at any time," he said.

Any decision on whether to reimpose US sanctions against Iran now rests with Congress.

IAEA confirms compliance

The IAEA is responsible for verifying and implementing Iran's implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA, at the request of the United Nations Security Council. Amano said on 13 September the agency had so far had access to all the locations it needed to visit, while Iran's ongoing provisional implementation of the Additional Protocol to its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA had given the agency's inspectors broader access to information and locations in Iran.

"As I have reported to the Board of Governors, the nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented," Amano said. "At present, Iran is subject to the world's most robust nuclear verification regime," he added.

Domestic issue

EU Vice-President Federica Mogherini also said on 13 October there had been no violations of any of the commitments included in the JCPOA. The plan of action is an annex to a United Nations Security Council Resolution, not a bilateral agreement, and cannot be terminated by a single country, she said. "It is clearly not in the hands of any president of any country in the world to terminate an agreement of this sort," Mogherini said.

The EU said today it considered Trump's decision not to certify Iran's compliance with the JCPOA as being in the context of an internal US process. "The EU encourages the US to maintain its commitment to the JCPOA and to consider the implications for the security of the US, its partners and the region before taking further steps," it said.

It reiterated the need to address "concerns related to ballistic missiles and increasing tensions in the region" in "the relevant formats and fora" outside the JCPOA. "At a time of acute nuclear threat the EU is determined to preserve the JCPOA as a key pillar of the international non-proliferation architecture," it said.

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran said in a live televised speech that the country would continue to cooperate with the IAEA and the JCPOA which he described as a multilateral and international treaty. "[A]s long as our interests require and, as long as we enjoy its benefits, we will respect the JCPOA within the framework of the interests of our nation," he said. A transcript of his speech was published by the Iranian presidency.

"We cooperated with the IAEA and within the framework of international treaties and the JCPOA and we will continue to do so, but if one day our interests are not guaranteed and the other parties want to violate their commitments, they must know that Iran will not hesitate for a second and will respond to them," he added.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News