Senior EU diplomat says Trump cannot renegotiate Iran nuclear deal

Helga Schmid with Iranian Vice-Minister Ansari as part of the EU regional initiative to find common ground on Syria in support of UN efforts, 11 January 2017. [EEAS, Twitter]

A senior European Union diplomat said yesterday (17 January) that the foreign policy team of US President-elect Donald Trump had misunderstood the Iran nuclear deal and that it was not up for renegotiation.

Trump, a New York property magnate who will take office on Friday after a shock election victory late last year, has called the 2015 accord “the worst deal ever negotiated” and threatened to annul it or seek a better agreement.

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“There is a misunderstanding that you can renegotiate this agreement. This cannot be done,” Helga Schmid, secretary-general of the European Union’s foreign policy service in Brussels, said of the deal brokered by the bloc between Iran, the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China.

“It’s a multilateral agreement, that cannot be renegotiated bilaterally,” she said, pointing out that the deal has also been endorsed by the UN Security Council.

The deal has given Iran some sanctions relief in exchange for scaling down its nuclear programme and the EU has been in touch with Trump’s foreign policy advisers to discuss the need to preserve it.

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Iran and six major world powers including the EU reached a nuclear deal today (14 July), capping more than a decade of on-off negotiations with an agreement that could potentially transform the Middle East.

Despite their often fraught ties, the EU says it is in full agreement with China and Russia over the need to keep alive the deal, which could also open up the Iranian market after a decade of sanctions, a prospect both Tehran and foreign companies welcome.

Iran has also said it would not renegotiate after Trump’s Secretary of State nominee, Rex Tillerson, said he would recommend a “full review” of the accord. He has, however, stopped short of rejecting it outright.

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Europe should face Donald Trump with “confidence”, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said Monday (16 January), after the US president-elect had predicted that more EU members would leave the bloc and charged that NATO was “obsolete”.

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