BRUSSELS (Dispatches) -- The European Union said Thursday it is high time the former U.S. administration’s "maximum pressure” policy towards Iran was jettisoned in favor of diplomatic engagement and interaction.
"We need to move from ‘maximum pressure’ to ‘maximum diplomacy’ through the JCPOA Joint Commission,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told Russia’s Interfax news agency before making a trip to Moscow.
He was referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official name of the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of states -- the U.S., the UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany. By the Joint Commission, the EU official meant a mechanism that is joined by the signatories’ representatives and monitors the deal’s implementation.
Under his signature "maximum pressure” policy against Iran, former president Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the landmark deal and restored the economic sanctions that it had removed.
"U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA and ‘maximum pressure’ policy, including secondary sanctions, had a negative impact,” Borrell acknowledged. "The JCPOA could not reach its full potential - including in the economic field,” he added.
Trump’s course of action has to be set aside in order "to try and build a new positive momentum and to ensure once again full implementation of the agreement, including by Iran,” he added.
On Wednesday, the US State Department expressed displeasure after the UN’s top court issued an interim ruling against Washington in a case brought by Tehran against the American sanctions.
The International Court of Justice issued the ruling, rebuffing the U.S. claim that the ICJ lacked jurisdiction to judge the lawsuit.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price reacted, saying, "We have great respect for the International Court of Justice. At the same time, we are disappointed that the court did not accept our well-founded legal arguments, that the case Iran brought is outside the court’s jurisdiction, and the court should not hear it.”
Iran’s UN Ambassador Majid Takht-Ravanchi said the State Department’s position showed that the U.S. had still not stopped violating the Security Council resolution that has endorsed the JCPOA.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday it is a "critical moment” for the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden to return to the multilateral nuclear deal of 2015 signed between Iran and major world powers.
"We are approaching a critical moment.”
"We are counting on the U.S. administration, as the country that negotiated and concluded the JCPOA to decide the extent to which it can return to the most important international document,” Lavrov said at a press conference with Borrell in Moscow.
Lavrov once again affirmed Moscow’s commitment to working within the framework of the JCPOA to resolve issues pertaining to Iran’s nuclear energy program.
During his 2020 campaign, Biden voiced strong criticism of Trump’s withdrawal. He also promised to rejoin the accord, which was signed when he was vice president. However, he has failed to take corrective measures since he assumed office on January 20.