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EU says renegotiating Iran deal not possible

The European Union (EU) says the articles of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six other countries are highly technical and there is no possibility of renegotiating the agreement — even partially.

“The deal has been negotiated and finalized in a way that actually contains so many provisions and so many elements of control with the most intrusive of system of verification,” EU foreign policy director Federica Mogherini said during a session of the Rome Mediterranean Dialogue regional forum on Friday.

“And this is 104 pages of detailed elements on every single aspect of nuclear activities. So anyone that thinks about renegotiating one chapter or another paragraph or line simply does not know what kind of box it is opening; every single word is linked to the previous and the next one and is something that was negotiated with an excellent technical team… [anyone thinking about renegotiation] simply does not understand the complexity of that,” she said, according to a transcript of her remarks made available by the website of the European External Action Service.

The parties to the deal are Iran, the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany. They sealed the deal on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016. The EU coordinated the negotiations that culminated in the deal.

The US, under its new president, has opposed the agreement, seeking to change parts of it or initiate a unilateral withdrawal.

Mogherini said the deal was international law because it had been embedded in a United Nations Security Council resolution and suggested that any country not observing the deal would in effect be violating international law.

“You cannot dismantle the deal. You can decide not to implement a UN Security Council resolution, and this is sovereign choice, but the deal is part of the UN system and is an international agreement,” she said.

At least one member of the EU, France, which is also a party to the Iran deal, has on a limited number of occasions floated the idea of adding other topics to the deal, which would mean reopening negotiations.

Mogherini, who is the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, rejected any prospect of renegotiation.

“No possibility of renegotiating parts of it, even partially; it is a key priority for us to keep its full implementation,” she said.

Separately, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif praised the EU’s “solid” stance in supporting the deal.

“Europeans and Ms. Mogherini have so far adopted good and solid positions on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” referring to the accord by its official name, Mehr News Agency reported.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks at the Mediterranean Dialogue (MED) summit, in Rome, Italy, November 30, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Zarif, who was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the seventh ministerial conference of the Heart of Asia summit in the Azeri capital, Baku, hailed the increased cooperation that had come about between the Islamic Republic and Europe by virtue of the JCPOA.

“In recent months, we have witnessed large-scale measures by Europeans in the field of banking and finance cooperation, and last week, we saw a delegation from the European Union in Iran for nuclear and agricultural cooperation,” he said.

Iran and the EU started holding their third round of high-level talks following the 2016 implementation of the nuclear deal in the third week of November in Tehran.

The two sides had already held two rounds of the negotiations in Tehran and Brussels, addressing economy and commerce, energy, environment, transportation, human rights, higher education, research and technology, culture, and regional developments.

The Iranian top diplomat expressed hope that the cooperation would continue between Iran and the EU.

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