- Armament and disarmament
- Conflict, peace and security
- Peace and development
While trying to save the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iran nuclear deal, some European leaders have stepped up pressure on Iran’s ballistic missile programme, simultaneously demanding talks and threatening sanctions. Iran—which sees ballistic missiles as crucial to the country’s defence—has responded by saying that its missile programme is non-negotiable.
Given the transatlantic disagreement over the JCPOA, European countries might feel increasing pressure to focus on Iran’s ballistic missile activities in order to find common ground with the USA. But is the Western perspective on Iran’s missile programme based on an objective threat assessment, and is a punitive approach helpful in addressing it?
The Iran nuclear deal has demonstrated that diplomacy can triumph in nuclear non-proliferation: dialogue, rather than military action, can convince states to forgo pursuing nuclear weapons. The European Union has long played an instrumental role in the multilateral diplomacy that produced the historic deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The 7 July deadline for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding Iran's nuclear programme expired without a breakthrough but the parties agreed to an extension until the end of 10 July.
Following the November 2013 agreement in Geneva on initial measures to address Iran’s nuclear programme, negotiations begin in Vienna today on additional steps towards a comprehensive solution. In order for these negotiations to succeed, both sides will need to agree on pragmatic measures which assure the international community of the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme, and which lead to the removal of all United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran.