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Future of the nuclear agreement: European signatories meet Iran’s Foreign Minister

Flags of the European Union, Iran, France, Germany and the UK

Flags of the European Union, Iran, France, Germany and the UK, © Florian Gaertner/photothek.net

16.05.2018 - Article

On Tuesday (15 May), Foreign Minister Heiko Maas travelled to Brussels to meet his counterparts from the UK and France, as well as the EU High Representative, to discuss the future of the nuclear agreement with Iran. 

Foreign Minister Maas with Federica Mogherini, EU High Commissioner, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, France’s Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian and the British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
Foreign Minister Maas with Federica Mogherini, EU High Commissioner, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, France’s Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian and the British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson© Florian Gaertner/photothek.net

The talks held in Brussels on Tuesday evening were important: at stake was nothing less than the future of the nuclear agreement with Iran, which peacefully resolved the nuclear conflict with Iran, that had been simmering away for more than a decade. Following the withdrawal of the United States from the agreement, the signatory states are now confronted with a complicated situation. Foreign Minister Maas stressed repeatedly that Europe intended to uphold the agreement: “We Europeans will do what we can to preserve the Vienna nuclear agreement because it has created greater predictability and security.”

Political talks with Iran in Brussels
Political talks with Iran in Brussels© Florian Gaertner/photothek.net

Searching for joint solutions

During the last few days and weeks, Germany has worked together very closely with France and the UK, with the aim of maintaining the nuclear agreement. In their talks with their Iranian opposite number Mohammad Zarif, the European signatories made it clear that they stand by the agreement and expect Iran to do the same. “Our message is this: as long as Iran stands by the agreement, Europe will do so too, regardless of the US decision”, stated the Foreign Minister. To this end, a number of concrete areas of action and instruments were addressed yesterday which could maintain the economic opportunities offered to Iran by the agreement. Experts on all sides are currently drawing up concrete proposals. 

First crucial step

The meeting in Brussels was a first step towards preserving the nuclear agreement. Talks with the other signatories, China and Russia, will also be sought in the near future. Maas emphasised ahead of the meeting: 

As long as there is a chance of preserving this key component in the international disarmament order, we should leave no stone unturned. Without this agreement there will be less security and more uncertainty with regard to developments in Iran and the Middle East. We want to prevent that by continuing to uphold the nuclear agreement with Iran.

Additional content

In signing the Vienna agreement of 14 July 2015, the E3/EU+3 countries and Iran reached consensus on a long‑term settlement of the nuclear dispute, following more than 12 years of contention. Some 18 months after the start of the implementation phase, significant progress has been made.

The Vienna Nuclear Agreement

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