European leaders unite with Iran in urging US to honor nuclear deal

World Today

Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif, center right, speaks with Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders during a meeting at the Egmont Palace in Brussels on Thursday Jan. 11, 2018. European Union foreign ministers held separate talks with their Iranian counterpart in Brussels on Thursday amid doubts over the future of an international agreement curbing the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

European leaders said an international agreement has worked to keep Tehran’s ‘nuclear program in check.’ They contend the White House has two options: back the deal, or come up with a better one.

U.S. President Donald Trump faces a deadline regarding the 2015 agreement. Trump must decide whether the U.S. will endorse the deal, or move to re-impose sanctions.

CGTN’s Kevin Ozebek explains the stance being taken by the European Union and Iran.

The European Union’s high representative and the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom met in Brussels with their Iranian counterpart. Their message: Europe is united on the issue of keeping the Iran Nuclear Agreement alive and intact.

Across the Atlantic, U.S. President Trump holds his own view of the deal–officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Trump has called it the worst agreement ever negotiated.

And while Trump is expected to extend it and not re-impose sanctions against Iran, he could always scrap America’s commitment to the deal down the road. Europe says if that’s his plan—he better find a new way to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

But Europe is facing its own criticism. Outside the foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, protestors demanded the EU take a stronger stance against the Iranian government. They’re showing their solidarity with the protesters who’ve rocked the Shia state—as anger against Iran’s leaders mount, in part, over perceptions the economic benefits of the nuclear deal haven’t trickled down to average citizens.

Still, many experts believe it is truly one of the best tools for keeping Iran a non-nuclear state.

While Europe’s diplomats are adamant the U.S. should stay with the Iran Deal—they also say they share some of America’s concerns. The EU also says Iran is destabilizing politics in the region but thinks that should be dealt with outside the framework of the deal.

Negar Mortazavi on the implications of re-imposing sanctions on Iran

As the Trump Administration weighs whether to certify the Iran nuclear deal or re-impose sanctions, Europe – along with Iran – are calling for the U.S. to honor the agreement. For more on the potential implications of a U.S. withdrawal from the framework, CGTN’s Asieh Namdar spoke with Negar Mortazavi, an Iranian-American journalist and commentator focusing on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.