Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 13 November 2019

Europe has 'broad recognition' of Iran threat, says US official

Philip Reeker said America could not stand by and allow Iran to fund its proxies

Iran's Quds Force is led by Qassem Suleimani, centre. AP
Iran's Quds Force is led by Qassem Suleimani, centre. AP

Despite the occasional foreign policy disagreement, the United States and Europe both understand the broader threat Iran presents, a senior State Department official has said.

Nato’s Article 5 - the principle of collective defence among member countries – remained the “backbone” of US security policy added Philip Reeker, the country’s top European official.

He was speaking at Globsec’s Bratislava Forum at a talk called ‘US and Europe still in it together?’.

Mr Reeker said it was perfectly normal for allies to have different foreign policy perceptions but a generally unified outlook and transatlantic understanding ensured stability.

“I think there’s broad recognition, for instance, of the common threat that Iran poses,” he said.

“The malign influence, the financing of terrorism that threatens Americans and Europeans - we discuss these things,” added Mr Reeker.

In 2018 President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that sought to limit Iran’s nuclear power. European powers have, however, remained committed to it. Fresh US sanctions on Iran have added obstacles for European companies who have worked with Iranian counterparts.

Mr Reeker said the Trump administration had “said all along” it could not abide by the JCPOA. The US could not stand by and allow Iran to enrich itself by channelling funds to Hezbollah and Qasem Soleimani’s Quds Force.

Still, the US and Europe were “very much still in it together,” Mr Reeker said on Friday. He was speaking soon after the 75th anniversary of D-Day, where the UK, US and their allies landed in Normandy to begin the liberation of Nazi-occupied France.

Updated: June 7, 2019 05:09 PM

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