Signatories to Iran nuclear deal meet in Vienna amid Trump’s threat
Signatories to Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers have held a new round of their periodic meetings to review its implementation amid US threats to kill the multilateral accord.
Representatives from Iran, the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany convened in the Austrian city of Vienna on Friday for a meeting of the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Joint Commission, or JCPOA.
One European diplomat said representatives from Europe were desperate to save the JCPOA from a possible collapse, which could be a case due to policies adopted by US President Donald Trump.
“We need to make sure that we don’t throw out the baby with the bath water, so we keep the nuclear agreement and we act on the rest in parallel,” said the diplomat.
The meeting comes ahead of a May 12 deadline for US President Donald Trump to extended waivers of economic sanctions on Iran.
He vowed in January, when he last extended those waivers, not to do so again unless the Europeans meet his demands to fix what he calls “flaws” in the deal.
European Union foreign ministers are expected to affirm that they believe the deal with Iran is good, and work to discourage Trump from pulling out of the deal in May.
Ahead of the talks, a senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official has ruled out speculation that Iran could accept a side deal to the JCPOA, saying the international document is basically not re-negotiable.
Iran: JCPOA not re-negotiable
Speaking to the IRNA news agency on Friday, Abbas Araqchi, who serves as the deputy foreign minister for political affairs, said renegotiating the deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or similar ideas like adding an appendix to it do not basically exist in Iran’s approach to the document.
“The JCPOA is a product of long negotiations and a package of exchanges which have (already) taken place,” Araqchi said, adding that Iran has fully observed its commitments under the agreement and expects the other side of the deal to do the same.
Araqchi said, however, that the United States, as a party to the JCPOA, has adopted a subversive approach toward the JCPOA over the past 14 months.
“Frightening and threatening the world’s business and economic communities not to work with Iran constitute a clear violation of different articles of the JCPOA,” said Araqchi in reference to Washington’s policy, under Trump, toward the Iran deal.
Under the JCPOA, Iran halted some of its peaceful nuclear activities in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related international sanctions.
Many of those sanctions, including those that used to target Iran’s banking system, have been technically lifted but companies still refrain from engaging in major deals with Iran as they fear a US reprisal.
Trump has repeatedly designated the JCPOA as a deal that harms US interests and should be either cancelled or repaired.
Other parties to the nuclear agreement, namely Russia, China, Britain, Germany and France, have all criticized Trump’s views on the deal, saying the agreement is sound and has proven to be functioning.