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‘EU backs any Iran-US talks, but wants JCPOA to live on: Mogherini

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini speaks to reporters before a meeting of EU foreign and defense ministers in Helsinki, Finland, August 29, 2019.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says the 28-nation bloc welcomes any talks between Iran and the US, emphasizing, however, that the 2015 nuclear deal enshrined in a United Nations Security Council resolution should be preserved.

She made the remarks upon arrival for a meeting of EU foreign and defense ministers in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, on Thursday.

“We are always in favor of talks. The more people talk, the more people understand each other, the better — on the basis of clarity and on the basis of respect,” Mogherini said.

“But again, first and foremost, what is existing needs to be preserved and the method of talks is always the one we prefer; it is always the one we encourage; it is always the one to which we invite our partners to take part on, on the basis, as I said, of respect of international rules and norms,” she said.

The top EU diplomat urged full respect for the Iran nuclear deal, which the US abandoned last May in defiance of global objections. Washington has, since then, launched a push to dissuade the other signatories to the deal, particularly its European allies, from remaining in the agreement, officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“The JCPOA is a UN Security Council resolution Annex, so it is not an international agreement; it is not a bilateral agreement. It is part of the body of decisions that the UN Security Council has adopted. And we will always advocate in favor of the full respect by all sides of the UN Security Council resolutions and that includes the JCPOA,” she said.

Mogherini stressed that the EU has always supported keeping the nuclear deal in place.

The comments came days after French President Emmanuel Macron expressed hopes for a meeting between President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and his American counterpart, Donald Trump, “in the next few weeks.”

Rouhani, however, rejected any such talks under pressure, urging the US to lift all its cruel sanctions — which the US re-imposed on Iran after leaving the Iran deal — and begin respecting the nation’s rights as a “first step” towards dialog.

Following Washington’s exit, Iran initially said it would stay in the deal if the other signatories — France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China — manage to fill in for the United States and offset Washington’s anti-Iran sanctions.

A year later, after the European sides failed to fulfill their end of the bargain, Iran suspended the implementation of some of its commitments under the JCPOA to hurry the Europeans into meeting Iran’s legal demands.

Now, the fate of the JCPOA remains in doubt amid Europe’s failure to stand up to the US.

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