EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said the Iran nuclear deal is not open for renegotiation and that US lawmakers have indicated that their goal, as they amend legislation related to the pact, is to keep the US in compliance with the multilateral agreement.
“Renegotiation is not an option,” Mogherini told reporters in Washington, citing the 12 years of talks between multiple parties on deeply complicated issues. She added a warning that the US would be isolated if it pursues this course.
“I have to tell this very clearly,” Mogherini said. “For Europeans as well as for the others that are sitting in the Joint Commission… meaning, the E3, Russia, China, renegotiating part of the agreement is not an option.”
The EU’s top diplomat also pushed back against a common criticism from US opponents of the deal who argue that so-called “sunset” provisions mean that Iran will eventually be able to resume its work toward a nuclear weapon.
“The sun doesn’t set when it comes to nuclear commitments,” Mogherini said. “Article three … says Iran will never develop a nuclear weapon.”
“The agreement is composed of different provisions, some of them have different durations, but the commitment not to develop nuclear weapons are forever,” she said.
Mogherini is in Washington to meet with administration officials and lawmakers who are working to amend domestic legislation that requires the President to reaffirm that Iran is complying with the deal every three months.
That quarterly ritual quickly became a political hot potato for the White House, with President Donald Trump chafing at a requirement that ran directly counter to his campaign denunciations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the deal is formally known.
Confronted with repeated decisions by the International Atomic Energy Association that Iran is indeed adhering to the agreement, the administration has opted to say that the country isn’t complying with the spirit of the pact and seek a way out through the Iran Nuclear Review Agreement Act, which allows Congress to review the nuclear deal.
Calling it a “delicate moment,” as work on the legislation is ongoing, Mogherini said that she received assurances from lawmakers that the goal is to remain compliant with the deal.
“What I discussed with people on the Hill is the need for us to have the United States compliant with the deal and I got reassurances from their side, different sides on the Hill, that this is exactly the spirit in which they’re working, to keep the United States compliant with the deal,” Mogherini said.
Senior members of Trump’s national security team, such as Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, have also argued in favor of staying in the deal.
Mogherini is both the High Representative of the European Union, with its 28 member states, and the coordinator of the Joint Commission that supervises the monitoring of the implementation of the Iran deal.
She made clear that, “US legislation is a matter for US legislative bodies. European Union does not interfere in national decision making or policy making.” But she added that, “we are exchanging views with the legislators on the need to make sure before the bill is presented that its contents does not represent a violation of the JCPOA.”
Europe, she said, has “a clear security interest in keeping the deal working.” We believe that the full implementation of the nuclear deal with Iran is a considerable part of the security architecture of our region. So we have a security interest to keep it working
“The European Union is completely united,” Mogherini said. “We wish to see the United States continuing its implementation of the deal in the future.”