Brussels, Tehran aim to preserve Iran nuclear Deal

16 May, 2018, 15:13 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini

The situation around the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program is a crisis, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said opening talks with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday, TASS reports. She also added that European Union and Iran would hold a meeting on JCPOA in Vienna next week at the level of political directors.

Iran wants assurances that European Union trade with Iran will continue to grow, despite Donald Trump pulling the United States out of the nuclear deal.

Not only has Trump's walkout of the deal imperiled its future, the threat of sanctions could also trickle down to European companies doing business with Iran and further hurt trans-Atlantic ties.

"I believe it's a good start".

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Zarif's tour would improve understanding of Iran's position and help Tehran protect its legitimate interests.

European diplomats acknowledged that the EU support, however honest, risked looking hollow after Trump reimposed an array of wide sanctions last week on Iran that will hit European companies investing there.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that "it won't be easy, that's clear to all of us".

Perry Cammack, of the Carnegie Middle East foundation, said "The primary target of USA secondary sanctions is not Iran itself but foreign financial institutions that trade with it".

French diplomats said they also wanted to assess Iran's intentions in sticking to the deal, but also to see how open it was to serious talks on other Western concerns, including its ballistic missile programme and regional activities.


President Trump's decision means the United States will be re-imposing trade sanctions that will affect companies seeking to trade with Iran since the deal was put into place.

Trump's decision to reimpose Iran-related sanctions would act as an "electrified rail" to those wanting to do business with the country, his British counterpart Boris Johnson added.

After long negotiations, Iran had agreed in July 2015 to freeze its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of punishing worldwide sanctions. "Whatever (is) decided should preserve and guarantee Iran's rights".

But European businesses and Iranian moderates need relatively swift assurances that trade will be protected.

German exports to Iran totaled almost 3 billion euros ($2.3 billion) in 2017, while French exports soared from 562 million euros ($670 million) in 2015 to 1.5 billion ($1.8 billion) in 2017 and oil giant Total has pledged to invest some $5 billion in the South Pars gas field.

In the CNN interview, Bolton did not respond directly when asked whether Trump might seek "regime change" in Iran, or whether the United States military would be ordered to make a pre-emptive strike against any Iranian nuclear facility.

They include retaliatory sanctions, allowing the European Investment Bank to invest directly in Iran and coordinating euro-denominated credit lines from European governments.

Russian media further cited Zarif as saying that Tehran and Moscow would do their utmost to keep the Iran deal in place less than a week after US President Donald Trump announced Washington's withdrawal from the JCPOA despite earlier global warnings and pleas for the White House not to attack yet another worldwide agreement.

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