New EU Foreign Policy Chief: Fan of Iran Deal, Critic of Trump

Photo of Spain's then foreign minister, and new EU Foreign Policy Chief, Josep Borrell (left) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Josep Borrell, who served as Spanish foreign minister, will replace Federica Mogherini as the new European Union foreign policy chief.

The first thing you should know about him is that he is adamantly opposed to the United States’ unilateralism. It was on April 26, 2019 when he took a swipe at Washington’s unilateral moves and interventionist measures, namely revoking sanctions waivers for Iranian oil. Addressing a conference on EU-US relations held in Madrid, Borrell said one should wait and see whether Washington’s decision will actually come into force as the move might face opposition by different countries.

Meanwhile, Borrell is one of advocates of the Iran nuclear deal. In comments on May 8, 2019 in response to Iran’s scaling back its commitments under the nuclear deal, he said Iran fortunately did not tear up the nuclear agreement and kept it from being completely torn apart. He said the Europeans would be the first countries to be affected by Iran’s ramping up its nuclear activities. Borrell also noted that Washington’s denunciation of the nuclear deal is bad news.

He underlined the Iranians did not tear up the agreement; rather, they said they would not live up to their commitments and adopt measures to limit the agreement if the US fails to keep its side of the bargain under the deal.

We should not forget that Spain is the same country that recalled its frigate and temporarily stopped it from continuing to accompany the American USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier moving towards the Persian Gulf at a time when there was much propaganda in order to militarize the strategic body of water. At that time, Borrell said the Spanish government had taken all aspects of the issue into consideration and finally decided to recall the frigate. The Persian Gulf is filled with tensions. Of course, this issue should not be aggrandized and regarded as a complex issue.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sat down for talks with Borrell at an international forum called The Raisina Dialogue in early 2019.

Kamal Kharrazi, the head of the Iranian Strategic Foreign Relations Council, also met Borrell in Spain last year.

Borrell, in a tweet in February 2019, expressed congratulations on the 40th anniversary of the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution of Iran and described Iran as a regional heavyweight.

So, it seems the replacement of Mogherini with Borrell will not be to Iran’s detriment. Even one may say that Borrell, given his caution and great diplomatic experience, would adopt stances that would be closer to Iran and farther away from the US and its regional allies including Israel and Saudi Arabia.

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