By Kelsey Davenport
Kelsey Davenport is director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association. This article was first published in their blog with the caption ‘Tillerson, Mogherini Meet Ahead of Key JCPOA Deadlines’. – The Editor
WASHINGTON, D.C. (IDN-INPS) – EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini reiterated to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the EU would work with the United States to address shared issues related to Iran, “on the basis of continued U.S. implementation of the nuclear deal” and outside of the agreement itself.
Mogherini and Tillerson discussed the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) during a Dec. 5 bilateral meeting in Brussels.
Mogherini reaffirmed the EU’s position that continued implementation of the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is a “key strategic priority” for European, regional, and global security.
Tillerson said that he looked forward to working with European partners to address Iran’s destabilizing regional activities that “cannot be ignored and cannot go unanswered.” He mentioned the importance of holding Iran fully compliant with the deal, but did not give any indication of how the Trump administration was approaching key deadlines that are tied to the deal.
The Mogherini-Tillerson meeting came a week before the Joint Commission convenes for a regular quarterly meeting Dec. 13 in Vienna. Behrooz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said that the main point of the meeting is economic because banks and corporations are “afraid” of doing business with Iran because of U.S. actions.
The 60-day window for Congress to introduce fast tracked sanctions, which opened up as a result of the Oct. 13 announcement to withhold certification, will expire Dec. 13. There is no indication that such a bill will be introduced.
In mid-January, the Trump administration will have to renew another set of sanctions waivers to meet U.S. commitments under the JCPOA. Around the same time, Trump will have to determine whether or not he will issue a certification to Congress tied to the nuclear deal that is required every 90 days by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA).
It is unlikely that Trump will issue such a certification, given that he withheld the certification in October. At that time, Trump also threatened to leave the deal if he did not see progress on areas outside of the nuclear deal, such as Iran’s ballistic missile activity and destabilizing regional activities. [IDN-InDepthNews – 12 December 2017]
Photo: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addresses reporters during a joint statement to the media with European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini, in Brussels, Belgium on December 5, 2017. [State Department Photo/ Public Domain]
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