The 2015 arms control agreement preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons “remains an important tool for regional stability” despite Washington’s withdrawal in 2018 and Iran’s gradual disengagement as a result, European Council President Charles Michel said on Thursday.
In a telephone call to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Michel called on Iran “to avoid posing any irreversible act,” according to a press release from the office of the European Council.
Michel’s call came amid tension between the United States and Tehran following the killing of top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. strike in Iraq on Friday, to which Iran retaliated early this week by firing about 20 missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. soldiers.
Since Friday’s attack, the EU has been calling unceasingly for a de-escalation on the ground, favouring diplomatic efforts instead.
On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to be playing the appeasement card while Iran’s Foreign Minister said his country sought neither escalation nor war.
At the same time, however, Trump called on Europe to pull out of the 2015 agreement, something Brussels has no intention of doing.
On Thursday, Charles Michel reiterated the importance of the accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which he said was “an important achievement after ten years of intense international negotiations.”
He said the EU stood ready “to enforce its engagement with all sides in order to defuse tensions,” according to the press release from the office of the European Council.
For his part, the Iranian president assured Michel that his country was ready to pursue close cooperation with the EU, according to the press release.