The US’ withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in May and its “illegal” move to increase pressure on Tehran upset the balance between the Islamic Republic’s commitments under the deal and the benefits it gained from it, Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Seyyed Abbas Araqchi said on Wednesday.
Under such circumstances, the failure of Europeans and other parties to ease the pressures, as they had promised to, has increased concerns about the future of the nuclear deal, Araqchi said in a meeting with his Belgian counterpart in Brussels.
Despite Washington’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May and re-imposition of sanctions on Tehran in November, the Europeans have reaffirmed their commitment to the JCPOA, as have Russia and China.
The EU is trying to create a special payment mechanism, known as Special Vehicle Purpose (SPV), in order to facilitate doing business with Tehran in the face of the US sanctions. However, the process has taken too long and this has sparked Iran’s protest.
Araqchi on Wednesday urged the Europeans and other parties to the nuclear deal to implement the mechanism as soon as possible in order to guarantee Iran’s economic benefits under the deal.
For his part, Belgian Deputy Foreign Minister Bruno van der Pluijm said the Europeans are hopeful they would be able to develop the SPV soon.
“We are seeking to preserve the Iran nuclear deal and believe that the JCPOA must remain intact irrespective of the US’ pullout… as there is no alternative to the accord,” he noted.
He also reaffirmed the permanent commitment of his country and other European states to defending the nuclear deal and said the JCPOA plays a key role in international peace and security.
Later in the day, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker reiterated the bloc’s strong support for the JCPOA, highlighting its contribution to global peace and security.
Speaking in an exclusive interview
with Treffpunkt Europa
, Juncker said the European Union “is working – in close coordination with the member states and other partners – on concrete measures to maintain cooperation with Iran in crucial economic sectors.”
“Reliability is what makes global stability. That is why Europe has to adhere to its position even when the US unilaterally withdraws from the Iran deal,” the top European official said.
“The deal may not be perfect but it was an important step toward peace in the region and worldwide. As long as Iran is compliant, the European Union as one of the architects of the agreement is devoted to this arrangement for the sake of peace and security,” he added.
He said the EU wants to maintain trade and economic relations with Iran which had already normalized as a consequence of the agreement.
“For this reason, we have updated and implemented the so-called Blocking Regulation. With that, we can mitigate the ramifications of the US sanctions on EU companies which rightfully do business with Iran,” he stated.