Czech Republic backs EU stance on nuclear weapons agreement with Iran, despite reservations

The Czech Republic has backed the EU’s decision to continue to respect the 2015 nuclear weapons agreement with Iran, after President Trump’s announcement that the US would withdraw from the pact. However the Czech Foreign Ministry noted that the international community should not close its eyes to the dangers of Iran’s ballistic program.

Donald Trump shows a signed Presidential Memorandum after delivering a statement on the Iran nuclear deal, photo: CTKDonald Trump shows a signed Presidential Memorandum after delivering a statement on the Iran nuclear deal, photo: CTK The Czech Republic on Wednesday threw its weight behind EU efforts to try to preserve the nuclear weapons deal with Iran, saying it considered the agreement an important instrument in non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

However, the Czech commitment to the EU stance was clearly not wholehearted. The Czech Republic is widely seen as Israel’s key ally in the European Union and Prague is receptive to the country’s concerns regarding Iran’s ballistic missiles program. Foreign Minister Martin Stropnický:

“What I find completely lacking in Ms. Mogherini’s statement is any mention of Iran’s ballistic missile program, missiles which, as you know, can reach targets 500 to 12,000 kilometres away.”

The Czech foreign minister said that the international community should not ignore some of the arguments presented by President Trump and Israel and noted that Prague also shares the concerns regarding Iran’s ballistic missiles program. “Addressing this issue is an agenda that the international community needs to deal with and should urgently pursue,” the Czech Foreign Ministry tweeted.

Political scientist Miroslav Tůma from the Prague-based Institute of International Relations says the divide between the EU and the US is growing and this latest controversy will have a far-reaching impact.

Miroslav Tůma, photo: archive of Institute of International RelationsMiroslav Tůma, photo: archive of Institute of International Relations “This is the second case of serious discord in trans-Atlantic relations – the first was when President Trump rejected the EU member state’s request for a permanent exemption from the hefty tariffs he on imported steel and aluminium imports in order to protect U.S. producers. And I expect this latest controversy will have negative consequences on trans-Atlantic cooperation both politically and economically. It is highly likely that the sanctions imposed by the US will hit European companies as well and a lot depends on how much the EU can do to protect its economic interests in this respect.”

President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear weapons agreement with Iran is expected to dominate the upcoming EU summit in Sofia next week. The Czech Republic will be represented at the talks by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.