European Ambassadors: Iran Nuclear Deal Must be Preserved

WASHINGTON – Ambassadors to the U.S. from the European Union, United Kingdom, Germany and France have said the Iran nuclear deal should be preserved.

If the Trump administration withdraws from the deal, German Ambassador to the U.S. Peter Wittig said, it would send a signal to North Korea that diplomacy is not reliable.

“This nuclear deal is worth preserving. It prevents Iran for the foreseeable future to acquire a nuclear bomb. It’s a plus for region security. It’s a plus for global security, and it can’t be said enough. This is the most intrusive, most comprehensive inspection and verification regime in the world that this Iranian deal created,” Wittig said during a discussion about the future of the Iran deal last week at the Atlantic Council.

“Those who want to walk away or advocate to walk away, they will have to think about the larger issues. First of all, of course, yeah, there’s a danger that Iran resumes its enrichment activity. There’s a danger then that there will be a nuclear arms race in the region and beyond,” he added.

Trump reportedly plans to “decertify” the Iran deal, which would kick it back to Congress. There, lawmakers will determine if sanctions should be reimposed and if the agreement should stand.

Wittig said a U.S. withdrawal from the agreement would weaken the “nonproliferation regime” that has been established. He also said the French government believes there is no way the deal can be renegotiated.

“What kind of signal would this send to countries like North Korea? It would send a signal that diplomacy is not reliable – that you can’t trust diplomatic agreements, and then would affect our credibility in the West when we are not honoring an agreement that Iran has not violated,” he said.

“Those who advocate to walk away from this agreement have to come with an alternative – how to prevent, in a peace way, a resuming of Iranian nuclear capabilities and military capabilities. And those who advocate to renegotiate, and there are some who do, have to make a case whether renegotiation is possible and whether renegotiation will deliver better results. We don’t think it will be possible to renegotiate it, and we believe there is no practical peaceful alternative to this deal,” he added.

Wittig explained that France and the U.S. share concerns about Iran’s “nefarious role” in the Middle East.

“We can talk about it, but on the basis of complying with this agreement,” he said.

EU Ambassador David O’Sullivan said Iran is “fully living up to its commitments” under the agreement.

“This is one of the most comprehensive nonproliferation agreements ever negotiated with unprecedented scrutiny and monitoring of the arrangement in ways that, frankly, have never been seen before, so it is a groundbreaking nonproliferation agreement which we believe, if fully implemented by all sides, will effectively make sure that Iran never obtains nuclear weapons,” he said. “The view of the European Union is that this agreement is a success – it needs to be maintained and nurtured.”

O’Sullivan said the “demise” of the Iran deal would be a major loss.

“I can think of a regional issue that we have with Iran that would not be even more difficult to handle if Iran possessed nuclear weapons,” he said.

French Ambassador Gérard Araud said his government is “raising a lot of questions” about Iran’s involvement in Syria and its sponsorship of terrorist activities, but stressed that the nuclear deal should be maintained.

“We are ready to work with our allies, here and our allies in the region, to rise to the Iranian challenge,” he said.

British Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch said the UK government believes their country is more “secure” with the Iran deal in place.

“We will continue to support it,” Darroch said.