European Union’s foreign policy chief says the administration of US President Donald Trump gave her confidence that Washington will be committed to following through with the 2015 nuclear agreement.
Federica Mogherini made the remarks on Friday during her first visit to Washington since Donald Trump became US President in January.
She said her trip was mainly aimed at discussing the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, including the US.
It was important that the JCPOA remains an international agreement, the top EU diplomat added.
Mogherini’s visit suggests concern from other P5+1 countries, including Russia and China, that the new US administration could withdraw from the nuclear agreement.
“I was reassured by what I heard in the meetings on the intention to stick to the full implementation of the agreement,” Mogherini told reporters a day after talks at the White House and State Department.
She noted that she had held talks with US National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Trump’s advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
The European Union acted as the coordinator for the negotiations in the lead-up to the JCPOA.
Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China plus Germany – started implementing the JCPOA on January 16, 2016.
The deal, which was later enshrined in a legally-binding United Nations Security Council resolution, rolled back nuclear-related sanctions against Iran, which, in turn, put limits on its nuclear program.
However, on his campaign trail, Trump threatened to annul the deal, which he has lambasted as “the worst accord ever negotiated” and “one of the dumbest” ones he has come across.
Trump’s controversial comments on the deal, repeated last month, prompted Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to say on January 19 that Washington cannot unilaterally decide to abrogate the agreement as it is an “international agreement,” and not a bilateral one between Iran and the US.
Trump’s harsh rhetoric against the nuclear deal comes while Washington’s partners in the P5+1 have thrown their weight behind the Iran deal. The EU has already said that it is in complete agreement with China and Russia over the necessity to keep the JCPOA alive.