EU committed to Iran nuclear deal
European Union leaders on Oct. 19 reaffirmed their full commitment to the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, hoping that the U.S. Congress would not let it collapse despite relentless criticism by President Donald Trump.
But the bloc, reluctant to isolate itself completely from Washington, is also stepping up criticism of Iran's ballistic missile programme and its role in what the West sees as fomenting instability in the Middle East.
Trump last week adopted a harsh new approach to Iran by refusing to certify its compliance with the nuclear deal, struck with the United States and five other powers including Britain, France and Germany after more than a decade of diplomacy.
"We fully stay committed to the complete implementation by all sides of the Iranian nuclear deal. We see this as a key security interest for the European Union and the region," said the bloc's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini.
The EU leaders' joint statement, agreed after talks in Brussels on Oct. 19, "reaffirms full commitment to the Iran nuclear deal.”
The bloc sees the agreement as a chief international success of recent years, and fears tearing it apart would hurt its credibility as well as harming diplomatic efforts to defuse tensions around a nuclear stand-off with North Korea.
The EU, which has expressed "concerns related to ballistic missiles and increasing tensions" in the Middle East, has said these issues should be discussed without direct links to the nuclear deal.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that Washington does not intend to disrupt European business deals with Iran.