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 Full text 
Tuesday, 12 December 2017 - Strasbourg Revised edition

14. Iran nuclear deal (debate)
Video of the speeches

  Charles Tannock, on behalf of the ECR Group . – Madam President, the Iran nuclear deal was concluded in 2015 as the joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA) by the P5+1 and the European Union, and I wish to extend thanks for the excellent work of your predecessor, Ms Ashton, and yourself, Ms Mogherini. Many so-called hardliners labelled it as a capitulation. These people not only failed to appreciate that the deal was concerned with one particular aspect, i.e. Iran’s nuclear weapons programme, but also they viewed the sanctions as an end in themselves rather than as a route to the negotiating table.

Iran’s human rights record is atrocious. I am the first to admit to that, and we should not fail to speak out against, and I have done on many occasions. Its support for terrorist groups in the Middle East is well documented and must be thoroughly condemned. Its continued engagement in a regional, sectarian battle for supremacy with Saudi Arabia creates instability and should be strongly discouraged.

These issues are, however, irrelevant when it comes to discussing this deal. That the JCPOA be enforced and measured solely against its specific aims is integral to its negotiation. Halting and hopefully ultimately preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon is what we must remain focused on, not stoking the narrative of Iran as a pariah state deserving of sanctions. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed that Iran has kept within all of the technical parameters of the deal, even if at times, these parameters have been pushed to their limits. I am pleased, therefore, that the EU Member States and the High Representative have spoken strongly in favour of the deal, following President Trump’s continued threats to withdraw from it, which I regard as unacceptable. At a time when tensions with North Korea are at a breaking point, the ability to highlight a successful nuclear non-proliferation deal is of more value than ever.

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