E3 FMs, Pompeo to Hold Emergency Talks on Iran in Brussels

E3 FMs
From left, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas launch the long-awaited special vehicle for Iran trade in Bucharest, Romania, on Jan. 31, 2019. / Photo by Getty Images

The foreign ministers of France, Germany, and the UK, EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are to hold an emergency meeting in Brussels later on Monday to discuss Iran’s recent nuclear announcement.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, and Mogherini were earlier supposed to discuss Europe’s response to the deadline Iran gave them on Wednesday for the implementation of their commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal.

They were also going to confer on their efforts to ensure that trade with Iran will continue despite the US sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Early on Monday, Pompeo announced that he has postponed his planned visit to Russia, and will travel to the Belgian capital for talks on Iran with his European counterparts.

On May 8, Iran announced that it would stop exporting excess uranium and heavy water, setting a 60-day deadline for the five remaining parties to the deal – France, the UK, Germany, China, and Russia – to take practical measures toward ensuring Iran’s interests in the face of the American sanctions.

In reaction, Mogherini and the E3 foreign ministers released a joint statement, rejecting the deadline given by Iran, while reiterating their commitment to the implementation of the nuclear deal, officially known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later criticized the EU statement, regretting that the bloc was demanding that Tehran unilaterally abide by a multilateral accord, which has already been abrogated by Washington.

Iran has warned that it has put a “step-by-step” withdrawal from the JCPOA on its agenda.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi said in an interview on Wednesday, “We have not left the JCPOA so far, but we have put such a move on our agenda and that would happen step-by-step.”

“No country can accuse Iran of breaching or leaving the nuclear deal,” the diplomat noted, adding that all the measures Tehran has adopted so far, including Wednesday’s move, has been within the deal’s framework.

   
   

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