Friday

14th Aug 2020

EU countries turn screw on Iran

  • UN monitors have been given widespread access to control Iranian compliance with the nuclear arms deal (Photo: iaea.org)

EU countries have tilted toward hawkish US diplomacy on Iran, by blaming it for Saudi Arabia attacks and calling for wider disarmament talks.

"We condemn in the strongest terms the attacks on oil facilities on Saudi territory on 14 September ... It is clear to us that Iran bears responsibility for this," the leaders of France, Germany, and the UK said in a joint statement on Monday (23 September).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"These attacks may have been against Saudi Arabia, but they concern all countries and increase the risk of a major conflict," they added.

Iranian missile strikes on Saudi facilities would represent the first direct territorial attack in modern times in a centuries-old rivalry between the Gulf powers.

The EU endorsement that Iran did the deed lent support for America's recent decision to send Iran-deterrent forces to Saudi Arabia.

The US has also threatened military action against Iran's nuclear facilities if it tried to build an atomic bomb.

The EU leaders voiced "continued commitment" to a UN-backed Iran non-proliferation pact, the increasingly-unravelling Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA).

Iran began violating JCPoA terms after the US walked out of the treaty and reimposed a Western ban on Iranian oil sales.

But France, Germany, and the UK urged Iran to unilaterally "reverse its [JCPoA] decisions".

They also endorsed the US line that "time had come" for wider Iran disarmament talks.

"Iran [ought] to accept negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear programme as well as on issues related to regional security, including its missiles programme and other means of delivery," the EU leaders said.

They spoke on the eve of the yearly UN general assembly in New York.

For his part, Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, was even more frank in saying that the JCPoA was up for renegotiation.

"If it was a bad deal - and I'm willing to accept that it had many, many defects - then let's do a better deal," Johnson told the NBC broadcaster in the US also on Monday.

"There's one guy who can do a better deal and one guy who understands how to get a difficult partner like Iran over the line and that is the president of the United States. So I hope that there will be a [Donald] Trump deal," Johnson added.

The EU had previously refrained from blaming Iran for Gulf region attacks.

It had also stuck to the JCPoA, quite doggedly, and is still preparing to a launch a new trade vehicle, called Instex, to handle Iran oil sales.

The EU's southern neighbourhood has for a long time been a ring of fire, with conflicts in Libya, Israel, Syria, and Yemen.

And the European leaders urged "de-escalation" on Iran via "sustained diplomatic efforts" with "all parties".

But for his part, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Zarif rejected Johnson's and any broader talk of a post-JCPoA accord.

The EU should stop "parroting absurd US claims and requests", Zarif said in response to Monday's European statement.

"No new deal before [EU and US] compliance with [the] current one," he also said, as Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, prepared to take the podium at the UN meeting in New York.

US scorns EU bailout of Iran deal

Gulf tensions have intensified, with Iran to speed up nuclear enrichment after US scorns French-led EU diplomacy.

Opinion

Gulf tension making it harder for EU to save Iran deal

Europeans should also clarify that they are unwilling to tolerate restrictions on freedom of navigation or a further significant expansion of Iran's nuclear programme. Diplomacy can resolve the standoff over the captured British and Iranian tankers.

Analysis

Suleimani assassination strengthens Iranian regime

With the assassination of Iranian general and war hero Qassem Suleimani, Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei gets the opportunity to reunite the people in his country, after weeks of mass protests.

News in Brief

  1. Amazon people urge EU banks to stop funding pollution
  2. Russia vaccine could be "dangerous", Germany says
  3. EU to finance new Covid-19 research projects
  4. Croatia receives EU earthquake relief funds
  5. Facemasks required throughout Brussels
  6. EU opposes Mexico's transparent junk food labels
  7. Greece accuses Turkey of 'escalation' in maritime dispute
  8. Slovakia expels three Russians linked to Berlin murder

Feature

The Hagia Sophia and the global battle of symbols

The Turkish president's decision to restart Islamic worship services in Istanbul's Hagia Sophia last Friday is not innocent. So how should we react? By doing the opposite - and make Cordoba's famous Mosque/Cathedral in Cordoba a museum.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. Belarus violence goes on, as EU ministers scramble
  2. French navy to deter Turkey's oil and gas grab
  3. EU ministers urged to talk Belarus, Turkey sanctions
  4. Drums of war again, in Europe
  5. EU looks on as Belarus protests turn lethal
  6. EU virus-alert agency says new restrictions needed
  7. Minsk violence prompts talk of EU sanctions
  8. Schrems privacy ruling risks EU's ties to digital world

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us