MEPs called on the EU to continue to back the Iran nuclear deal, which has helped to reduce the nuclear threat posed by the country.
In July 2015 Iran signed an agreement with France, Germany, the UK and the EU plus China, Russia and the US to prevent the country developing nuclear weapons. Although the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed 11 times that Iran is abiding by its commitments under the agreement, US President Donald Trump announced on 8 May that the US was withdrawing from the agreement. The EU remains committed to the agreement.
On 12 June MEPs debated the impact of the US’s withdrawal with many criticising the country’s decision.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini noted that the EU’s position had not changed: “The nuclear deal makes Europe more secure, prevents a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. It brings economic benefits to the people of Iran and it opens new precious, even if difficult, channels for diplomacy and dialogue.”
David McAllister (EPP, Germany) said: "We believe it’s the right way forward to prevent Iran becoming a nuclear-armed state. According to information from the IAEA, there are no clear indications of a resumption of the Iranian enrichment activities. We think it’s thanks to the agreement and that’s why it is so hard for us to accept the reasons for the US decision."
Victor Boştinaru (S&D, Romania) said: “The deal is key for nuclear non-proliferation and should be kept in place as long as possible. This is key for global peace and security and is in the interest of the international community, including US and Iran.”
Charles Tannock (ECR, UK) said that the signing of the Iran deal was a breakthrough. “We must not let one poorly-advised, anti-multilaterialist president destroy an agreement that has at its heart the desire to maintain a more peaceful world.”
Marietje Schaake (ALDE, Netherlands) stressed the importance of the EU taking its own decisions: “We simply cannot accept that Washington spells out which sanctions our European companies are bound by.”
- Reduction of uranium stockpile by 98%
- No enrichment of uranium above 3.67%
- Full access to Iran's declared and suspected nuclear sites
Several MEPs pointed out that the decision by the US would increase risks. Klaus Buchner (Greens/EFA, Germany) said: “If Europe were to follow the will of President Trump and re-impose sanctions against Iran, I think Iran will resume production of nuclear weapons and there will be an arms race in the Middle East.”
Cornelia Ernst (GUE/NGL, Germany) said: “This treaty with Iran concerning nuclear matters must be maintained. We cannot simply allow for further escalation of tension and conflict in the Near East.”
Fabio Castaldo (EFDD, Italy) said: “I believe that the US decision to unilaterally withdraw from the agreement is a historic mistake. I am absolutely convinced that our duty is to do our utmost most to defend the agreement. Despite the fact that instruments are not perhaps enough to do that.”
“We should have had a plan B for the eventuality that this agreement could suddenly collapse,” said Mario Borghezio (ENF, Italy). “The fact is that big companies in the automobile sector and the oil sector are abandoning Iran, and this is very dangerous, primarily for Iran, and this has geopolitical and security implications, which bring with them enormous dangers for the rest of the world."