Iran pushes Europe to pressure U.S. on nuclear deal

By Sommer Brokaw  |  March 5, 2018 at 2:32 PM
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March 5 (UPI) -- During a meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian Monday, Iran's top diplomat said Europe must pressure the United States to stick to the landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told his French counterpart it's vitally important that the United States not abandon the Obama-era deal, which lifts Iranian sanctions in exchange for limits on Tehran's nuclear program.

"Europe must put the U.S. under pressure to implement its commitments and not allow the U.S. to make illogical and unlawful demands," Zarif said.

President Donald Trump in December refused to re-certify the pact, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action -- prompting reprimand from world leaders.

The deal was struck between Iran and six world powers -- the United States, Britain, Russia, France, China and Germany -- and confines Iran's nuclear activity to the laboratory.

Since taking office, Trump has accused Iran of committing "multiple violations" under the JCPOA and threatened to withdraw the United States from the agreement.

Zariff says Iran has complied, and that the European Union agrees.

The Tasnim News Agency reported Monday that Le Drian threatened ahead of the visit that Iran must address "international concerns" over its missile program or risk new sanctions.

The meeting Monday drew protests from a number of university students in front of the foreign ministry in Tehran. They carried signs referring to France's nuclear stockpile and its military bases in the Middle East. They also slammed Le Drian's remarks about negotiating the agreement and called for him to officially apologize.

Still, Le Drian told The Times of Israel he is not "an emissary of Trump," and "there's still a lot of work to do on Iran's missile program.

Zariff responded that Europe must "play a more constructive role" to preserve the agreement.

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukiya Amano told Press-TV that Iran has been compliant with the deal -- and the JCPOA's collapse would be "a great loss."

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