EU and Iranian foreign ministers meet in Brussels

EU foreign affairs ministers were in Brussels on Thursday for high-level meetings focused on the Iran nuclear deal.

Federica Mogherini | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

11 Jan 2018

UK foreign affairs secretary Boris Johnson, French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel and EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini met with Iranian foreign minister Mohammed Zarif, .

Speaking ahead of the meetings, Johnson said, “The UK has always been clear: the Iran nuclear deal is a crucial agreement that makes the world safer.

“It is vital that we continue to work with our European partners to preserve the Iran deal, and with it the security and prosperity it is bringing to the people of Iran and the world. It is those shared interests which will drive our discussions in Brussels.


“Of course there are areas where we disagree with Iran, not least on its destabilising regional activity and its ballistic missile programme. This will be an important part of our conversation.

“I will be making it clear to foreign minister Zarif, on the subject of the recent protests in Iran, that the right to peaceful demonstration within the law is central to any truly thriving society. I will also raise all of our Iranian dual-national consular cases.”

The Commission declined to say if the current protests in Iran will be discussed at the meeting with Zarif.

US President Donald Trump is expected to waive Iran sanctions this week, which is seen as a sigh of relief to European leaders who feared that other courses of action would cause the Iran nuclear deal to unravel.

According to a UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office briefing note, Johnson will raise the Iran protests and tell Zarid that protestors have the right to demonstrate peacefully.

The Iranian regime’s officials have acknowledged that 3700 protesters have been arrested recently although the real number of detainees is said to be much higher.

They are under severe torture according to the Amnesty International, which says that at least five of the protesters have been killed in custody.

Elsewhere, a spokesperson for the National Council of Resistance of Iran said, “If Mogherini and her colleagues have the least respect for Universal Declaration of Human Rights, they should publicly and unequivocally express support for the Iranian people’s legitimate demand to put an end to the religious dictatorship and to condemn suppression of the protests and murdering the prisoners under torture.

“Javad Zarif’s mission over the years has been to justify the mullahs’ crimes and their war-mongering in the region.  He has repeatedly met and supported notorious terrorists such as Hassan Nassrallah, the Secretary General of the Lebanese Hezbollah, Imad Mughniyah, the head of the military wing of Hezbollah who personally commanded a number of the bloodiest terrorist operations of the Hezbollah. Zarif has met and heaped praise on Bashar Assad, the murderer of the Syrian people on a number of occasions.

“The Iranian people, with chants such as ‘No to reformer, no to hardliner, this game is over’, have clearly shown that they recognise no difference between the regime’s two factions and are determined to overthrow the regime in its entirety.”

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