The EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, says the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers has nothing to do with the Islamic Republic’s national missile program, emphasizing the importance of keeping the multilateral pact “as it is.”
Speaking to reporters ahead of a NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, Mogherini said Iran’s missile program or its regional polices are not related to the 2015 nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as two separate issues.
During her talks in Washington a day earlier, “we made clear, very clear, that these issues have to be tackled outside of the nuclear agreement that covers only nuclear related issues,” she said.
Mogherini further said the EU attaches “great importance” to “keeping the Iran nuclear deal up and running,” adding that during her recent visit to Washington she had discussed the issue with US officials.
“For us, it is very important to keep the nuclear agreement as it is -renegotiation is not possible in our view and you do not change an agreement that is delivering,” she added.
The top EU diplomat expressed confidence that the bloc would “manage to keep the Iran nuclear deal in place,” adding that all sides to the accord must remain committed to their obligations under the deal.
“We will continue to keep the highest possible attention for the strictest possible implementation of the agreement – in all its components and by all sides,” she said.
Mogherini further praised Iran’s good cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is tasked with monitoring Iran’s compliance with the deal under a 2015 UN Security Council resolution.
The UN nuclear watchdog has in eight reports confirmed Iran’s commitment to the terms of the JCPOA struck in 2015 between Tehran and the P5+1 states – Russia, China, France, Britain, the US plus Germany.
“I met also the Director General of IAEA in Washington, Dr [Yukiya] Amano, who reiterated to me his assessment that they are having the appropriate access. We trust the Agency’s independence and technical knowledge to monitor in a very strict manner that all the nuclear commitments that Iran has taken are actually met,” Mogherini added.
From Washington, Amano also hailed Iran for remaining fully committed to its side of the deal.
Under President Donald Trump, who took office more than a year after the JCPOA was signed, Washington has at various times attempted to either scrap the agreement or open renegotiations to change its terms.
The US has also imposed fresh sanctions on Iran over its missile program, which it claims violates the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear deal.
However, Tehran insists its missile tests do not breach any UN resolutions because they are solely for defense purposes and not designed to carry nuclear warheads.
Iranian officials have time and again said the Islamic Republic’s missile program is for defensive purposes and it’s non-negotiable.