Iran missile tests don't breach nuclear deal: EU

Iran’s ballistic missile tests are not in violation of its nuclear deal and the EU is not considering sanctions at this stage

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Iran’s recent ballistic missile tests are not in violation of its nuclear deal and the European Union is not considering sanctions at this stage, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Monday (Mar 14).

Mogherini however warned that last week’s missile tests, which Tehran insists are not aimed at developing nuclear weapons capability, could raise tensions in an already volatile region.

France had warned on Sunday that it risked new sanctions as a result of the tests, but Mogherini said that was a matter for the UN Security Council, which met to discuss the issue on Monday.

“This is indeed also in our view not a violation of the (nuclear deal) as such,” Mogherini said after meeting the foreign ministers of the 28 EU nations in Brussels.

“If there is a violation of UN Security Council resolutions, this should be discussed in the appropriate UN bodies and not necessarily in the European Union Foreign Affairs Council.”

Russia had earlier Monday said that it opposed any sanctions on Iran over the ballistic missile tests.

Mogherini said however that “we expect Iran to fulfil all its international obligations”.

She added: “The point is we all see this as a major problematic element when it comes to regional relations... this would increase tensions in the Middle East at a moment when tensions are definitely not needed.”

Mogherini announced earlier that she would go to Iran next month to build on the nuclear deal, which she played a key role in securing.

Mogherini last visited Iran in July shortly after world powers -- Britain, China, France, the United States, Russia plus Germany -- agreed to lift sanctions in return for Tehran accepting strict curbs on its nuclear programme.

“My next visit will take place on the 16th of April,” she said as she went into the foreign ministers’ meeting.

“We will discuss with the ministers on which grounds, on which issues and sectors to re-engage so as to reopen full relations” with Iran, she said.

Under the July accord, the lifting of the nuclear sanctions takes place progressively in line with Tehran meeting its commitments.

A key provision allows the sanctions to be restored or “snap-back” immediately if Iran is found in breach of the agreement.

Mogherini has been anxious to return to Iran to build on July accord momentum, both for the sake of bilateral ties but also in the hope of getting Tehran’s help in resolving the Syrian and other regional conflicts.

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