Europe has common interests with Russia, China over Iran – Merkel

TASS – The European countries, parties to the Iran nuclear deal, share interests with Russia and China, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an interview with Germany’s newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung published on Wednesday

“Germany, France and Britain are taking a different approach from the US on the question of the Iran agreement,” she said cited by the daily. “For all our other differences, we even have common interests here with Russia and China.”

Merkel admitted that “Europe seems weak in the situation over Iran. On the one hand, as the euro is not the leading global currency like the dollar and it struggles to counter the US sanctions.”

“On the other hand, Europe has made progress. That Europe is no longer divided on this important question as it was in the Iraq war is a value in itself,” Merkel added.

“We must have realistic assessment of our capabilities and must strengthen them for the future,” she added. “As far as defense cooperation is concerned, we are making good progress.”

The European Union has to look for common positions.

“It is often difficult due to different interests, but we succeed. Let’s think of our policy on the Ukraine conflict,” Merkel said.

The German chancellor recalled the EU worked out a common strategy on Africa.

“Thus, we are getting ahead step by step, even though our political strength doesn’t yet match our economic capabilities,” she stated.
Iran nuclear deal

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the Iran nuclear deal, was signed between Iran and six international mediators (the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Russia, the United States, and France) on July 14, 2015. On January 16, 2016, the parties to the deal announced beginning of its implementation. Under the deal, Iran undertakes to curb its nuclear activities and place them under total control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in exchange of abandonment of the sanctions imposed previously by the United Nations Security Council, the European Union and the United States over its nuclear program.

On May 8, 2018, US President Donald Trump announced that Washington would unilaterally quit the landmark accord inked in 2015 aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear program. Anti-Iranian sanctions, including a ban on purchasing oil, were reinstated in November. On May 8, the US slapped more sanctions on Iran’s metals industry.

On the same day, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran would stop implementing some commitments under the landmark deal. According to Rouhani, Tehran will resume enrichment of uranium and will suspend converting the Arak nuclear reactor if the signatories to the agreement do not comply with their commitments under the deal within 60 days, including the banking sector and oil trade.