Friday

19th Jan 2018

Iran dominates start of UN meeting in New York

  • The UN chamber in New York - leaders' plenary speeches begin on Tuesday (Photo: tomdz)

EU ministers in New York have said new sanctions on Iran are the antidote to an Iran-Israel war.

Speaking to press in the margins of the UN's annual meeting, the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the UK said the EU wants to put more "pressure" on Iran for a diplomatic solution to the nuclear confrontation.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The UK's William Hague told Canadian broadcaster CBC on Monday (24 September) that the EU ban on Iran oil imports imposed in July has already had a positive effect.

"We ... have brought Iran back to negotiations which is not unrelated to that sanctions pressure upon them. There have been several rounds of substantive negotiations that haven't brought a breakthrough, that haven't succeeded," he said.

"But the alternative to what we're doing now, sanctions plus negotiations, is to allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons or to get itself into a position where it could easily have a nuclear weapon, or say to let Israelis conclude that they should make an attack on Iran. Well those are things we don't want to see."

French minister Laurent Fabius told Reuters: "If we want to reach a diplomatic and peaceful solution to Iran's nuclear program, then we must increase the pressure."

Talks between the P5+1 group - China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and the US - and Iran restarted this year, with the group's negotiator, EU foreign service chief Catherine Ashton, last meeting her Iranian counterpart, Saeed Jalili, in Istanbul last week.

Ashton described the talks as "constructive."

But an EU contact told this website it is unclear whether Iran wants to proceed "step-by-step" on reducing uranium enrichment or whether it is waiting for a comprehensive "package" to emerge after US elections.

The EU is preparing to impose additional sanctions on Iran at a foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels on 15 October.

A British diplomat told EUobserver the new measures will focus on energy, finance, trade and transport.

Another EU diplomat said a ban on imports of Iranian natural gas and restrictions on flights to Tehran are two items under discussion in expert groups. "We don't really import any gas from Iran, so it should be easy to get agreement on that," he noted.

The UN event in New York got off to a testy start when the Israeli ambassador walked out of a meeting on international law on Monday after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called his country a "fake regime."

The Iranian leader made another inflammataory statement in a press briefing in his hotel.

"Iran has been around for the last seven, 10,000 years. They [the Israelis] have been occupying those territories for the last 60 to 70 years, with the support and force of the Westerners ... During a historical phase, they represent minimal disturbances that come into the picture and are then eliminated," he said.

EU and US delegates stayed behind at the rule of law meeting, however.

Amid regular Israeli threats to strike Iran's nuclear facilities, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said at the event that any military action must have a UN mandate: "When the use of force is inevitable, it should be legitimised by the international law emanating from this house, the United Nations."

Meanwhile, EU diplomats back in Brussels said the threat of an Iran-Israel war rarely comes up in day-to-day meetings.

"It's above our pay grade. We talk about sanctions, human rights and humanitarian aid to Syria. But Most EU countries are not involved in decision-making on this [potential conflict], so their diplomats don't stand up and make statements just for the sake of it," one source said.

News in Brief

  1. Germany confirms attendance at air quality summit
  2. Nearly half of 'fixed' Dieselgate cars show problems
  3. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook up hate speech deletion
  4. UK mulls bridge to France
  5. German far-right float anti-asylum bill
  6. EU Parliament to investigate glyphosate-decision process
  7. 'Mutagenesis' falls outside EU's GMO rules, says EU top lawyer
  8. Decision on Polish MEP's Nazi-era slur postponed

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. Middle East, Messi and missing MEPs on the agenda This WEEK
  2. Instagram and Google Plus join EU anti-hate speech drive
  3. EU wants 'entrepreneurship' in education systems
  4. UK loses EU satellite centre to Spain
  5. Pay into EU budget for market access, Macron tells May
  6. Ethiopian regime to get EU migrants' names
  7. EU to lend Greece up to €7bn more next week
  8. Nato prepares to take in Macedonia

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressChair of EU Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism Condemns Wave of Attacks
  2. Counter BalanceA New Study Challenges the Infrastructure Mega Corridors Agenda
  3. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  4. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% Plastics Recycling Rate Attainable by 2025 New Study Shows
  5. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  6. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  7. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  8. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  10. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  11. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  12. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap