Scientist killing will not help bid to revive Iran nuclear deal, says EU's foreign affairs chief

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By Ana Lazaro
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell interview with Euronews.
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell interview with Euronews.   -  Copyright  Euronews

The killing of an Iranian scientist "puts difficulties" on the road to reviving the Iran nuclear deal, the EU's foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell has told Euronews.

Top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed while driving through the city of Absard, east of Tehran, by “armed terrorist elements” using explosives and machine-gun fire, the Iranian state broadcaster said.

There had been hope that with the arrival of Joe Biden in the White House, the Iran deal, which was abandoned by incumbent Donald Trump, could be revived. However, there are fears the assassination could derail these ambitions.

"It's clear it's not going to help," Borrell told Euronews, adding that whoever did it "is looking for an escalation of the conflict".

Borrell was speaking on the ten-year anniversary of the EU's External Action Service, which was marked by a debate between Borrell and his predecessors, Federica Mogherini and Javier Solana.

Watch the debate in full: The EU in a changing world – Staying on course in troubled waters

The main aim of the EU's foreign policy arm to ensure the bloc can speak with one voice on the world stage.

To this end, Borrell is also working on a policy paper outlining how the EU would like to team up with the new US administration. He thinks that differences will not disappear overnight, but the mood will be different, even if trade remains a sticking point.

"The Democrats also have a certain tendency to defend protectionist measures," admitted Borrell. He added that "everybody is using trade today as a weapon in this geopolitical fight". But he hoped that all parties could "sit down and talk".

On Turkey, Borrell said that events have not been evolving very well. Stopping short of confirming sanctions - he said it is now up to EU leaders to take the next necessary steps with their southern neighbour.