Iran nuclear deal: EU’s top diplomat admits difficulties

Implementation is a challenge but deal still on track

Afp April 16, 2016
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, speaking at a press conference on April 16, 2016 in the Iranian capital Tehran. PHOTO: AFP

TEHRAN: The European Union’s top diplomat during a visit to Tehran on Saturday admitted difficulties in implementing Iran’s recent nuclear deal with world powers, but maintained that the agreement was on track.

Federica Mogherini’s comments, in a joint press conference with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, underscored tension in Tehran over the accord, which has been in force for three months.

Under the deal, all nuclear-related sanctions were lifted but Iranian officials have accused the West, particularly the United States, of failing to honour its side of the bargain.

Among their grievances is the contention that US government officials are scaring off European banks from investing in Iran for fear of falling foul of regulations that saw massive fines imposed in recent years.

Mogherini, on her first trip to Iran since the nuclear deal came into force in January, said the diplomatic gains of the agreement must now be turned into “benefits in Iranians’ daily lives.”

But Zarif echoed remarks from other Iranian officials about the deal not producing discernible benefits.

“It is necessary that the other side’s cooperation, especially the United States, is made good in practice, not only on paper,” Zarif said. “We will put some pressure on the US, to pave the way for cooperation between non-US banks and the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Mogherini sought to play down the concerns, saying that three months of “challenges” on the deal’s implementation was nothing compared to the 12 years of diplomacy it had taken to produce the nuclear agreement. 

Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2016.

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