The European Union in a statement that was released on Wednesday highlighted the legitimacy of the deal as it was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council.
The nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed by Iran and the five permanent members of Security Council plus Germany in 2015. But the US pulled out of it unilaterally last May.
The EU statement is released a few days after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed for the 14th time that Iran has been committed to its obligations under the deal.
The full text of the EU statement comes as follows:
1. Recalling the November 2016 Council conclusions, the European Union expresses its resolute commitment to and continued support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The JCPOA is a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture and an achievement of multilateral diplomacy, endorsed unanimously by the UN Security Council through its resolution 2231.
2. The European Union welcomes Iran’s continued full and effective implementation of its nuclear-related commitments, as confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in thirteen consecutive reports, including in its latest quarterly report, issued on 12 November 2018. The European Union reiterates the need for Iran to continue to implement all of its commitments, and to continue to cooperate fully and in a timely manner with the IAEA. The European Union welcomes and fully supports the work undertaken by the IAEA in monitoring Iran’s implementation of the JCPOA. The EU welcomes Iran’s commitment never to seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons. It acknowledges the provisional application by Iran of the Additional Protocol to its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, encouraging its ratification.
3. The European Union recognises that the lifting of sanctions constitutes an essential part of the JCPOA and deeply regrets the re-imposition of sanctions by the United States, following the latter’s withdrawal from the JCPOA. The European Union underlines the efforts undertaken to preserve economic and wider benefits for Iran as foreseen by the JCPOA. These are being intensified through the initiative by France, Germany and the United Kingdom, to operationalise the Special Purpose Vehicle, which has now been registered as a private entity, with a view to providing a positive impact on trade and economic relations with Iran, but most importantly on the lives of Iranian people. The Special Purpose Vehicle will support European economic operators engaged in legitimate trade with Iran, in accordance with EU law and with UN Security Council resolution 2231.
As recalled in the joint statement of the HR/VP with foreign ministers and finance ministers of France, Germany and United Kingdom of 2 November 2018, the resolve to complete this work is unwavering. The European Union recalls that updates to the EU’s “Blocking Statute” and the European Investment Bank’s external lending mandate to make Iran eligible entered into force on 7 August 2018.
4. The European Union emphasizes its support for the development of EU-Iran relations in areas of common interest as outlined in the Joint Statement agreed by the HRVP and the Iranian Foreign Minister in April 2016, which underpins its sectoral engagement in bilateral cooperation. This includes areas such as political dialogue, human rights, economic cooperation, trade and investment, agriculture, transport, energy and climate change, civil nuclear cooperation, environment, civil protection, science, research and innovation, education, including through university exchanges, culture, drugs, migration, regional and humanitarian.
5. The Council welcomes the progress on the necessary reforms and urges Iran to adopt and implement the necessary legislation pursuant to its commitments under the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Action Plan. The EU and is Member States are ready to continue cooperation with Iran in these areas, including by providing technical assistance for the implementation of the FATF Action Plan.
6. The Council expresses concern at the growing tensions in the region and Iran’s role in this context, including the provision of military, financial and political support to non-state actors in countries such as Syria and Lebanon.
7. The Council has serious concerns regarding Iran’s military involvement and continuous presence of Iranian forces in Syria. The European Union calls upon Iran to fully support the UN-led process on Syria in line with UN Security Council resolution 2254, and urges Iran to use its leverage with the Syrian regime to this end. It urges Iran as one of the Astana guarantors, together with Russia and Turkey, to ensure cessation of hostilities and unhindered, safe and sustainable humanitarian access throughout all of Syria, and particularly in Idlib.
8. Regarding Yemen, the European Union calls upon all parties in the region, including Iran, to support the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2451 and to constructively work towards a lasting political solution to the conflict under UN leadership. The EU notes with concern the conclusions of the UN Panel of Experts on Yemen report, which found non-compliance with the arms embargo established by paragraph 14 of UNSC Resolution 2216.The European Union remains committed to continuing the existing EU-led political regional dialogue with Iran, with the aim of continuing to produce tangible results and fostering an improved regional environment. It recognises the results of the efforts which have been undertaken in the context of the current EU-led dialogue on regional issues. The EU welcomes, in this regard, Iran’s public support for the UN talks in Sweden, which led to the Stockholm Agreement.
9. The Council is also gravely concerned by Iran’s ballistic missile activity and calls upon Iran to refrain from these activities, in particular ballistic missile launches that are inconsistent with UN Security Council resolution 2231. Iran continues to undertake efforts to increase the range and precision of its missiles, together with increasing the number of tests and operational launches. These activities deepen mistrust and contribute to regional instability. The Council calls on Iran to take all the necessary measures to fully respect all relevant UN Security Council resolutions related to the transfer of missiles and relevant material and technology to state and non state actors in the region. In a broader context, the Council also recalls its longstanding serious concern at the regional military build-up.
10. The Council is deeply concerned by the hostile activities that Iran has conducted on the territory of several Member States and, in this context, decided to list two individuals and one entity. The European Union will continue to demonstrate unity and solidarity in this area and urges Iran to put an immediate end to such unacceptable behaviour.
11. The Council remains seriously concerned about the human rights situation in Iran. Iran continues to frequently apply the death penalty. While the Council acknowledges that the amendments made to the Anti-Narcotics Law, passed in October 2017, have so far led to a significant drop in drug-related executions, it stresses that the EU opposes the use of the death penalty in all circumstances and in every country. The EU underlines that the execution of juvenile offenders is in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to both of which Iran is a party.
In line with EU commitments to ensure equal rights of women and girls and persons belonging to minorities, including ethnic and religious minorities, the Council calls upon Iran to implement the relevant international treaties to which it is a party and to fully respect human rights and fundamental freedoms.
12. The Council underlines that existing tensions and distrust in the region should not be further exacerbated and calls upon Iran and all regional actors to play a constructive role in this regard and avoid unhelpful rhetoric. The Council supports a balanced, comprehensive approach with Iran, including dialogue, with a view to addressing all issues of concern, critical when there are divergences and cooperative when there is mutual interest.