Iranian Foreign Minister Recommends Europe Not to Repeat Past Mistakes

The European countries should not repeat past mistakes and blindly follow the course of the administration of the U.S. President Donald Trump in matters of a nuclear deal and the settlement of the situation in the Middle East.

This warning was made by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in his article published by The New York Times on December 10, Azer News reported.

“The unreliability of the United States — from climate change to Palestine— has become predictable. Our main concern now is cautioning European countries against wavering on issues beyond the scope of the nuclear agreement and following in lock step 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,” the article read.

He recalled that long before the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran held similar negotiations with Britain, France and Germany during which European diplomats, seeking to persuade George W. Bush’s administration to give diplomacy a chance, asked Iran for a temporary, voluntary freeze on uranium-enrichment-related activities as a confidence-building measure.

“After two years of negotiation — and under pressure from the U.S. — Britain, France and Germany suddenly demanded that we abandon all enrichment activities. The talks fell apart and the Europeans ended up neither stopping our nuclear program nor appeasing Washington,” according to the article.

Zarif called the nuclear deal a rare triumph of diplomacy over confrontation and stressed that undermining it 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,” he added.

The Iran nuclear deal was negotiated in July 2015 between Iran, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the U.S., France, Britain, Russia and China – as well as Germany. By ratifying the plan, Iran agreed to scale down its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

Despite eight reports by the IAEA which confirm Tehran’s compliance, On October 13, U.S. President Donald Trump, long been known as the main critic of the landmark deal, declared his view of the JCPOA, which was reached under his predecessor – Barack Obama.

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. This would repeat the very dynamics that preceded the nuclear deal.

The nuclear deal has become a hot topic for discussion since Trump, who constantly voices anti-Iranian rhetoric, took the office. Trump announced that he would not certify Iran’s compliance with the deal. At the same time he did not challenge the compliance of Iran at the international level. The move paves the way for Congress to put new restrictions on Iran. It now has less than 60 days to decide whether to reimpose economic sanctions on Tehran which were lifted under the nuclear accord in 2016.

The other parties to the agreement – Britain, Germany, France, Russia, China and the European Union – have all reaffirmed their commitment to it and called on the U.S. not to step out.  However, it is believed that Trump would not recommend the Congress to re-impose sanctions in order to reach a compromise with many congressional leaders who stand for keeping the deal at least with some changes.

In case sanctions are applied, the U.S. would find itself in breach of its commitments. This means a unilateral withdrawal from the agreement, which will damage the reputation of the U.S. in the eyes of world community.