Trump has no power to kill off Iran nuclear deal, insists Mogherini

EU foreign policy boss says the US president ‘has many powers, but not this one’

US president Donald Trump announces that the US will not certify that Iran is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal. Video: The White House


US president Donald Trump does not have the power to repudiate the Iran nuclear deal, EU foreign policy boss Federica Mogherini said on Friday night.

Responding in Brussels to Mr Trump’s “decertification” of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the deal is officially called, she said “the president of the United States has many powers, but not this one”.  

The agreement was not a bilateral one, she said, but a multilateral agreement endorsed unanimously by the UN Security Council. “To my knowledge not one country in the world can terminate a Security Council resolution.” The treaty “does not belong to any single country”.   

Ms Mogherini claimed the Trump move was driven by domestic politics and had no standing in international law.  

She defended the enormously detailed 104-page treaty, which she said “will continue to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons”.

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‘No violations’

The honouring by the latter of all its commitments had been verified eight times by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). There had been “no violations of any of the commitments”.  The EU, along with the other members of the joint commission that oversees its implementation, would continue to ensure the full and strict implementation of the accord by all parties. “We believe we have a collective responsibility to preserve it for our collective security.”  

She was asked whether another deal, or amendments to the deal, could be negotiated, as the US Congress at Mr Trump’s instigation was likely to suggest.  Ms Mogherini replied that to do so would require a willing interlocutor. “Ask Tehran” if it would be willing, she said .

Iranian officials have long said they would not be willing to renegotiate the deal, in which they agreed to abandon their nuclear weapons programme, confine themselves to civil nuclear development, and submit to more rigorous international monitoring in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions.

Complex negotiations  

The JCPOA was agreed between the E3+3 (China, France, Germany, Russia UK and US) and Iran after 12 years of highly complex negotiations in July 2015 and it was endorsed a few days later by the United Nations Security Council.    

The EU’s high representative for foreign and security policy, Ms Mogherini  plays a central chairing, co-ordinating role in the Joint Commission.  

The lifting of sanctions under the deal prompted a rush of European corporations to do business in Iran. These are now lobbying their governments to prevent its dismantlement and are hoping Iran may continue to adhere to its conditions if Europe refrained from reimposing sanctions.

EU foreign ministers will discuss Mr Trump’s decision to decertify the deal at their meeting in Luxembourg on Monday.