Manama Dialogue: Germany calls for updated nuclear deal to stop Iran threat

Iran's ballistic missiles and its role in the region can only be addressed with 'firm reaction', says Secretary of State Miguel Berger

A missile unveiled by Iran is launched in an unknown location in Iran in this picture received by Reuters on August 20, 2020. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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The Iranian nuclear deal will not be enough to stop the challenges posed by Tehran, Germany’s Secretary of State Miguel Berger said on Saturday.

The 2015 deal – known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA – gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.

“We have seen non-compliance in important areas of the agreement over longer periods of time but going back to full compliance will not be enough, we have to update the agreement,” Mr Berger said during the annual Manama Dialogue, organised by International Institute for Strategic Studies in Bahrain, which focuses on regional security challenges.

Although the European Union and United States were the main drivers behind the deal, US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the accord in 2018 and has reimposed crippling sanctions on Tehran as part of a "maximum pressure" campaign.

US president-elect Joe Biden has signalled that Washington could rejoin the deal as a starting point for follow-on negotiations if Iran returned to compliance.

“We have to wait for the ideas of the new US administration,” said Mr Berger, whose country currently holds the EU presidency.

Iran's ballistic missiles and its role in the region can only be addressed with “firm reaction such as sanctions, but with a regional security structure”, Mr Berger said.

“We need to make progress in the months ahead in order to move towards compliance in the JCPOA and tackle the challenge of regional security,” he said.

Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told Spiegel magazine that an accord to limit Tehran's nuclear prowess was needed "because we distrust Iran".

"A form of 'nuclear agreement plus' is needed, which also lies in our interest," said Mr Maas said.

Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani said officials from the region must be consulted on changes to the nuclear pact.

"The JCPOA amendments should address areas of concern to the region including Iran’s missiles programme, interference in domestic affairs, and support for militias," Mr Al Zayani said.

The Manama Dialogue is held annually at Bahrain’s Ritz Carlton hotel. In-person attendance is limited this year because of Covid-19 pandemic, with many sessions conducted online.

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