Ursula von der Leyen
Ursula von der LeyenReuters

The European Union said on Wednesday it “will spare no efforts” in its attempts to keep the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers alive, The Associated Press reports.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said her foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell will continue to work “in the midterm” to reach out to all participants in the global deal in the hopes that the 2015 agreement can still be saved despite a rollback on commitments from Tehran.

Von der Leyen also reiterated the need to de-escalate the tension in the region, after an Iranian missile attack on two American bases in response to a US strike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

“The use of weapons must stop now to give space for dialogue,” she said, according to AP. “We are called upon to do everything possible to rekindle talks. There cannot be enough of that.”

Speaking alongside von der Leyen, Borrell urged all parties involved in the growing tensions to eschew more military action.

“The latest rocket attack on airbases in Iraq used by US and coalition forces, among them European forces, is yet another example of escalation and increased confrontation. It is in no one’s interest to turn up the spiral of violence even further,” he said.

Earlier this week, Iran announced that it will abandon the deal amid heightened tensions with the United States over the killing of Soleimani.

After that announcement, von der Leyen said that Iran must comply with the 2015 deal.

“From a European viewpoint, it is important for Iran to return to the nuclear deal. We have to convince Iran that it’s also in its own interest,” she said.

Borrell has invited Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to Brussels for talks, but a date for his visit has yet to be set amid a frenzy of diplomatic activities. The EU foreign ministers have organized a special meeting on Friday to discuss the ongoing crisis.

Even before the elimination of Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad overnight Thursday, Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal in response to US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018.

Most recently, the Islamic Republic restarted uranium enrichment at the underground Fordow facility in violation of the deal.