Today the European Parliament has debated the recent confrontation between Iran and the US, and the role the EU could play to de-escalate it. The Socialists and Democrats called on all sides for restraint to prevent further escalation in the region and beyond, and urge EU member states to show their commitment to democracy and unity in Iraq, and to do their utmost to safeguard the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA).

“In a long series of provocations since the reckless US withdrawal from the JCPOA, the assassination of Iranian General Soleimani created a very dangerous spiral of instability in the region. It is of utmost importance to support EU High Representative Borrell’s efforts aimed at de-escalation and to save the nuclear agreement with Iran. With ever more diverging interests within the transatlantic alliance and the US withdrawal from the region, the time has come for a realistic debate on Europe’s strategic autonomy to safeguard our own security and interests,” said S&D vice-president for foreign affairs, Kati Piri.

“We pay our solidarity to the families of the victims of the downed Ukrainian plane and urge Iranian authorities to allow international observers to undertake a full and transparent investigation. Furthermore, Iran must refrain from the use of force against the peaceful demonstrators who took to the streets to protest against the regime’s incompetence, mismanagement and authoritarianism. We urge Iranian authorities to listen to their legitimate demands and engage in a genuine dialogue on political and social rights of the Iranian people,” underlined Piri.

“Finally, the EU must continue and if necessary step up its support for unity and democracy in Iraq. That means reinforcing its security sector reform mission to the country, as well as supporting actions against the resurgence of the Islamic State threat,” S&D vice-president concluded.

“General Soleimani was definitely guilty of many atrocities, particularly in Syria, where his efforts shored up the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad. Nevertheless, the killing of a high-ranking official of a foreign country opened up Pandora’s Box in the region,” added Tonino Picula, S&D coordinator in the committee on foreign affairs.

“The EU must stay united behind High Representative Josep Borrell and work with all the responsible international parties, particularly in the region, in order to urgently promote diplomatic solutions and preserve the Iran Nuclear Deal. It is crucial not only for the security of the region, but also for our continent’s security. We must ensure that Iran returns to the full implementation of its obligations under the JCPOA. This means using diplomatic and technical tools to protect European companies from the US sanctions so they keep investments in Iran, and Iranian people feel the benefits from the deal,” said Picula.