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The Iranian nuclear (aka JCPOA). The intergenerational file of all the heads of European diplomacy

(B2) If there is one dossier on which all the High Representatives of the EU have had to work, it is that of Iranian nuclear power. From the crazy idea of ​​considering such an agreement, under Solana, to its conclusion, under Mogherini, to his battle to maintain it under Borrell

These confidences were drawn during a meeting organized on Tuesday (December 1) to celebrate ten years of the European External Action Service. Better known by the acronym SEAE in Brussels jargon. With the exception of Cathy Ashton, high representative from 2009 to 2014, they were all there – Javier Solana (1999 to 2009), Federica Mogherini (2014 to 2019) and Josep Borrell (since 2019) – for a debate around the French Christine Ockrent.

The signing of the agreement, the key moment

For Federica Mogherini, one of the most obvious memories of her mandate is " when we won the agreement, in 2015, after several years of negotiations, started under Javier Solana ».

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The story begins in 2003. The first time Javier Solana travels to Tehran. He tells : " I went there with EU foreign ministers, but without China or Russia. As we progressed in the negotiations, we turned to these counterparts. The US refused to participate in the meetings, so we were in a delicate situation. When Rouhani won the election, we were able to implement the strategy which paid off. Rouhani told me he was ready to negotiate with the US if elected. This is what convinced me to tell my European colleagues that it was time to negotiate ". It is " our stubbornness that changed the game ».

The Mogherini relay and the expertise of the EEAS

« We have had impasses in these negotiations, spent weeks in meeting rooms recalls Federica Mogherini. " What we don't know, is that this agreement is based on a very successful text, around a hundred pages, to the credit of the EEAS technical team and dozens of sleepless nights ". This solidity has certainly helped to pass “ the test of Trump's decision to pull out of the deal and get over that nagging question: Were we able to keep this deal alive? ". " It was a real test of European capacity, as we were bent under US pressure she breathes.

After Trump for Borrell

The pressure is now on Josep Borrell. The Spaniard says he is optimistic about succeeding. Even if he does not hide his annoyance when the news makes us fear the worst, as with the assassination a few days ago of one of the fathers of the Iranian nuclear program. " It is not by killing the nuclear experts that we will dissuade Iran from reinforcing its nuclear arsenal! » he storms. This doesn't cause it to change lines: “We worked hard to keep this agreement alive despite the US withdrawal. The Europeans remained united. This agreement is still on the table and we hope that the Iranians and the US will agree to return to the negotiating table to return to full compliance with this agreement. ". In his agenda, he has already entered the next step, just before Christmas, a meeting of the joint committee which he co-chairs.

(Emmanuelle Stoesser)

NB: We must not forget in this painting, the work carried out by Catherine Ashton. If there is one issue where the British stood up to it, and scored points, it is undoubtedly that of Iranian nuclear power. And the 2015 agreement is also, somewhat without a doubt, due to the role she played, managing to gain respect around a largely male table. (NGV)

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Emmanuelle Stroesser

A journalist for magazines and the press, Emmanuelle specializes in humanitarian issues, development, asylum and migration and human rights.