The European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, says the bloc has no plans to impose more sanctions on Iran after reports emerged that European signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have proposed fresh sanctions against Tehran under the pressure of Washington.
“There is no proposal of additional sanctions against Iran. It is clearly not a matter of adding sanctions – no proposal in this respect today and clearly, no decision,” Mogherini told reporters on Monday upon her arrival at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council.
She added that the EU foreign ministers would focus on “continuing the full implementation of the nuclear deal,” officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries in 2015 amid constant US threats to withdraw from it.
Britain, France and Germany have proposed new EU sanctions on Iran over its missile program and its regional role, a confidential document said on Friday, Reuters reported.
The joint paper was sent to the EU capitals to sound out support for such sanctions as they would need the backing of all 28 member states of the bloc, Reuters quoted two people familiar with the matter as saying.
The proposal is allegedly part of an EU strategy to appease US President Donald Trump and preserve the Iran nuclear deal.
Trump has repeatedly described the JCPOA, which was negotiated under his predecessor, Barack Obama, as “the worst and most one-sided transaction Washington has ever entered into,” a characterization he often used during his presidential campaign, and threatened to tear it up.
The US president said America’s European allies must agree to tougher measures and new conditions until May 12, otherwise Washington would pull out of the deal.
Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani on Saturday warned European countries against playing into the hands of the United States and the Israeli regime.
“Defense capabilities, particularly the missile program, of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which have a deterrent nature, will firmly be continued based on national security necessities,” Shamkhani said in a meeting with Oman’s Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi in Tehran.
Mogherini further pointed to the “very good” meeting of the Iran-P5+1 Joint Commission in the Austrian capital of Vienna on Friday and said all the participants acknowledged that the JCPOA “is being implemented and that we all stay committed to its full implementation.”
She stressed the significance of keeping the JCPOA separated from the discussions on regional issues.
“I think the main message today would be this: keep the course on the full implementation of the nuclear deal, and separately, address regional issues, including issues related to the ballistic missiles on which the European Union has always had a very clear position,” Mogherini said.
She added that the EU has “a high level political dialogue with Iran” about regional developments and said, “That is something substantial, especially on Yemen, leading to some – I would say – encouraging results.”
Under US pressure, certain European countries, especially France, have recently raised claims about what they alleged to be Iran’s destabilizing role in the region and also urged for a halt to the Islamic Republic’s missile program. Iran has dismissed such accusations and calls.