Monday

6th Apr 2020

EU unclear about next move on Iran

European Union foreign ministers on Monday (25 January) left a Brussels meeting without a clear picture as to what should be the bloc's next move regarding Iranian non-compliance with international demands regarding its nuclear programme.

France for its part pushed for the EU to ready fresh sanctions against Tehran, following on from a similar warning on Monday from Berlin, although European powers have said that no such action should be taken unilaterally in the absence of consensus in the United Nations Security Council.

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

"The Europeans have to prepare the sanctions process," France's Europe minister, Pierre Lellouche, told a press conference after the meeting.

"We have been in talks for six years," he continued, adding: "All the West's proposals have been rejected."

Mr Lellouche warned that Iran's enrichment of uranium was now at the "threshold of militarisation."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday told national diplomats that sanctions were on the cards if Tehran continued its intransigence.

"Time is running out," she said, according to German media, while adding that ratcheting up sanctions against the country would be a "tragedy for the Iranian people."

Other EU member states were more sanguine , with the bloc's new foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, underscoring the need to await agreement at the UN level before Europe could move forward: "We just have to wait and see what comes out of the discussions of the Security Council."

Sweden's foreign minister, Carl Bildt, also told reporters: "The sanction instrument is a very blunt one so it should be used with extreme care. Our aim is to get the Iranians to the negotiating table and have a political solution."

The Security Council permanent five - China, France, Russia, the UK and the US - and Germany have already met once in 2010 to consider further sanctions, but without reaching agreement.

World powers are concerned at the possibility that Iran's nuclear energy programme is secretly aimed at developing weapons in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Tehran maintains the programme only has peaceful ends, intended to provide further electricity resources to its citizens.

Iran has called for all nuclear weapons states across the Middle East to disarm and for the region to become a nuclear weapon free zone. Israel, its long-standing nemesis, has never acknowledged its nuclear capacity, although it is widely understood that Israel has 100 to 200 such weapons. 

The UN Security Council has slapped sanctions on Iran three times as a result of its uranium enrichment activities.

Most recently, the International Atomic Energy Agency's offer to ship Iran's low-enriched uranium overseas for reactor-fuel enrichment was rejected by the Islamic republic.

Agenda

Coronabonds clash continues This WEEK

Finance ministers will hold all-important online meeting to find ways to mitigate the econmic fallout from the pandemic and heal wounds between northern and southern member states.

Coronavirus

EU depicts Africa's health system as a threat

After visiting European nationals first brought the virus to Africa, the European Union is now worried it could spread throughout the continent and bounce back to Europe.

Coronavirus

Coronavirus: Greenland watches ... and waits

It would take relatively few seriously ill patients on Greenland, the world's largest island, to outrun the capacity of the nation's health services.

Coronavirus

Coronavirus exposes lack of common data approach

The enormous differences between coronavirus cases reported worldwide raise questions on how countries are tracking their outbreaks - or even deliberately underreporting them.

News in Brief

  1. Three arrested in deadly French 'terror' attack
  2. Greece quarantines two migrant camps
  3. UK premier Boris Johnson hospitalised with coronavirus
  4. Former Libyan rebel leader Jibril dies of corona
  5. EU waives customs duties, VAT on vital medical imports
  6. Air France-KLM seeks state-backed loans
  7. New ventilators for EU will take time, Commission says
  8. Drugs firms managing to meet demand, EU says

Coronavirus

EU launches €100bn worker support scheme

The EU commission has announced a "new solidarity instrument", mobilising €100bn in support to workers with jobs affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Other funds will be redirected to respond to the negative economic impact.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. Coronabonds clash continues This WEEK
  2. EU depicts Africa's health system as a threat
  3. Coronavirus: Greenland watches ... and waits
  4. Coronavirus exposes lack of common data approach
  5. Virus recovery talks should ditch old taboos, EU's Vestager said
  6. EU's 'Irini' Libya mission: Europe's Operation Cassandra
  7. Slovak army deployed to quarantine Roma settlements
  8. Lockdown: EU officials lobbied via WhatsApp and Skype

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us