"Our main concern now is cautioning European countries against wavering on issues beyond the scope of the [Iran] nuclear agreement and following in lockstep behind the White House. As the nuclear deal and the Middle East enter uncharted and potentially combustible territory, it is imperative that Europe helps ensure that we don’t soon find ourselves repeating history," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote in an article for The New York Times newspaper, published on Monday.
Zarif recalled that over 10 years before the conclusion of the JCPOA in 2015, Tehran’s negotiations with France, Germany, and the United Kingdom had failed when the European states under US pressure suddenly demanded Iran abandon all uranium enrichment activities, despite earlier agreements concerning their temporary voluntary freeze.
"The nuclear deal is a rare triumph of diplomacy over confrontation. Undermining that would be a mistake. Europe should not pander to Washington’s determination to shift focus to yet another unnecessary crisis — whether it be Iran’s defensive missile program or our influence in the Middle East," Zarif pointed out.
According to the foreign minister, Iranian military capabilities are only defensive, and have only been used against "a few equally heinous adversaries," namely the regime of Iraq’s former leader Saddam Hussein and its terrorist allies, and the Daesh terrorist group (banned in Russia).
Iran Nuclear Deal
Despite the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, having repeatedly confirmed Tehran's compliance with the terms set by the multilateral agreement, US President Donald Trump announced the "serious shortcomings" of the accord in mid-October, and threatened to pull out of the deal if it wasn't reconsidered.
The EU's foreign policy leaders, in particular, EU diplomat Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of France, the United Kingdom and Germany have reacted to the move, reiterating that the nuclear deal should be maintained.
The US lawmakers now have until December 12 to decide whether to reimpose the sanctions on Iran that were lifted as part of the nuclear deal. Also, a number of sanctions on Iran have been imposed by Washington since 2016, namely by the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, signed by Trump in August.
Signed in 2015, the JCPOA between the European Union, Iran and P5+1 countries (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany), which has been in effect since January 2016, stipulates the gradual lifting of the economic and diplomatic sanctions imposed on Iran by Western nations in exchange for Tehran ending its nuclear program.