Iran nuclear deal will remain valid regardless of U.S. decision, says EU policy chief

Iran nuclear deal will remain valid regardless of U.S. decision, says EU policy chief


JUDY WOODRUFF: From Tehran, we turn to Brussels,
and Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs and
security. She was the chief negotiator among the U.S.,
five other world powers and Iran when the nuclear agreement was signed in July 2015. The united Security Council endorsed it days
later. When I spoke with Mogherini earlier today,
I started by asking her whether the deal could still hold up, as it has been widely reported,
if President Trump doesn’t recertify. FEDERICA MOGHERINI, Foreign Policy Chief,
European Union: Well, first of all, let me remind us all that the atomic agency, the
IAEA, has certified eight times that Iran is compliant with all the commitments included
in the agreement. Eight times, last time just a few weeks ago. We have the international community strongly
behind the full implementation of the deal that has prevented Iran from developing a
nuclear weapon. So, the deal not only will hold, but the deal
doesn’t belong to one country or another. It’s a U.N. Security Council resolution, and
the entire international community, from Russia to China to Japan to Latin America to Europe
and the European Union, will continue to guarantee that the deal will hold, is implemented, and
that the Iranians will continue to stick to their nuclear commitments. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, if he were to take the
step, to say that Iran is not in compliance, what would it mean for the European Union,
for the other U.S. allies in Europe? FEDERICA MOGHERINI: Well, the rest of the
international community will continue to stick to the agreement, as we have done so far. Let me also say something that is very important. And I think the American people understand
this perfectly well. We are living in a moment of tensions and
growing risks on the nuclear side. We’re seeing threats coming from the DPRK. And, there, we see, regrettably, that there
is no mechanism still in place to avoid a nuclear proliferation. We have one agreement that, on nuclear-related
issues, has worked now two years consistently. This is definitely not the right moment to
dismantle a piece of nuclear nonproliferation arrangements that is currently working and
showing also in this way the good example for the rest of the world. JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s being reported here President
Trump is doing this because he believes this is going to give him more political leverage
over other co-signers to renegotiate the deal. Do you agree that this — that it would create
pressure on you and the others to renegotiate, that it could change the circumstances? FEDERICA MOGHERINI: No, this deal has been
negotiated for 12 years and has put together major world powers, and has been, as I said,
unanimously voted by the U.N. Security Council, 12 years of negotiations, 102 pages of clear
details on extremely complex nuclear-related aspects. It’s not a deal you can easily open and renegotiate. There is no technical nor political space
to renegotiate this deal. I can tell you something. Already, in other cases, the United States
decided to step out of an agreement, the rest of the world stick to it. I think of the Paris climate agreement, for
instance. What will happen is not pressure to renegotiate
an agreement that cannot be renegotiated and should not be renegotiated, because it’s working,
and it’s proven to be working. What will happen will simply be that the United
States will contravene an a U.N. Security Council resolution, and the rest of the world
will stick to it. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, given that, if President
Trump does go ahead, declare that Iran is not in compliance, what will you and the other
signatories do about it? What are your options? FEDERICA MOGHERINI: I understand that, whatever
message the president will pass, it will be then up to Congress to make its own decisions. But I would like to underline one thing that
is important. This is not a treaty or an agreement that
the United States and Iran stipulated among themselves. We are talking again here of a U.N. Security
Council resolution that is and will remain valid, whatever decision the United States
will take. JUDY WOODRUFF: Ms. Mogherini, more broadly,
there have been some disturbing critiques President Trump made recently by the chairman
of our Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker. Among other things, he said the secretary
of state, the secretary of defense and the White House chief of staff are — quote — “all
that’s separating us from chaos.” He also said that President Trump is making
reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation — quote — “on the path
to World War III.” I want to ask you, as the leader of the European
Union, how do you view President Trump’s actions with regard to world affairs since he’s taken
office? FEDERICA MOGHERINI: It is true that, with
the United States, we have longstanding friendship, a strong partnership, many things we continue
to do together, but also some points of difference, when it comes to some of the foreign policy
or security policy approaches that this administration — or President Trump, rather, personally
is taking. And I would like to stress this once again. We are living in dangerous times in the world. For once that we have an agreement that is
functioning, that is working, that is delivering, the worst thing you can do is trying to dismantle
it, also because you would show the way to others that making deals actually is not worth
it, because the message that America would send to the rest of the world is that America
cannot be trusted upon, because a deal that America voted for just two years ago in the
U.N. Security Council, with a resolution unanimously adopted, a deal that America helped to shape
enormously, enormously, would be rejected by the same country. If we pass the message that every change of
administration in Washington or elsewhere, deals are thrown away and renegotiated, no
one would negotiate with any administration ever, and any deal would be exposed to be
renegotiated every term. This is not a way of making deals, not in
foreign policy, not in private businesses. And I think President Trump understands this
perfectly well. JUDY WOODRUFF: High Representative Federica
Mogherini, thank you very much for talking with us. FEDERICA MOGHERINI: Thank you.

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