EU says will not al­low U.S. to de­ter­mine its trade ties with Iran

Tehran Times - - POLITICS -

TEHRAN – The high rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the European Union for for­eign af­fairs and se­cu­rity pol­icy says the United States can­not im­pose its poli­cies on the 28-na­tion bloc’s le­git­i­mate trade re­la­tions with Iran.

“We Euro­peans can­not ac­cept that a for­eign power – even our clos­est friend and ally – makes de­ci­sions over our le­git­i­mate trade with an­other coun­try,” Fed­er­ica Mogherini said in an in­ter­view with the European Coun­cil on For­eign Re­la­tions pub­lished on Fri­day.

She added that the EU is work­ing with the rest of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to keep alive the land­mark nu­clear agree­ment, of­fi­cially known as the Joint Com­pre­hen­sive Plan of Ac­tion (JCPOA), de­spite the U.S. uni­lat­eral move to pull out from the deal.

The Iran nu­clear deal “has so far been im­ple­mented in full, as cer­ti­fied by the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency in 13 con­sec­u­tive re­ports,” she said.

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump with­drew his coun­try in May from the his­toric Iran nu­clear deal and de­cided to re-im­pose uni­lat­eral sanc­tions against Tehran.

Un­der the deal, reached be­tween Iran and six ma­jor pow­ers - the United States, Bri­tain, France, Ger­many, Rus­sia and China - Tehran agreed to put lim­its on its nu­clear pro­gram in ex­change for ter­mi­na­tion of eco­nomic and fi­nan­cial sanc­tions.

The U.S. ad­min­is­tra­tion hoped to get the other par­ties to the deal with Iran to like­wise scrap the deal, but in­stead they stressed that not only would they stick to the agree­ment, but they would also work to sus­tain it in the face of in­creased U.S. pres­sure.

A re­port by the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency (IAEA) said in Novem­ber that Iran has con­tin­ued to im­ple­ment all its com­mit­ments un­der the 2015 nu­clear deal even as the United States re-im­posed fresh sanc­tions against Tehran.

The IAEA’s re­port said Iran has been com­ply­ing with the re­stric­tions to its nu­clear pro­gram laid down in the nu­clear deal. “There is noth­ing that in­di­cates that Ira­nian co­op­er­a­tion or the Ira­nian at­ti­tude has changed since the 5th of Novem­ber.”

Mogherini fur­ther re­jected claims that Europe is mo­ti­vated mainly by eco­nomic or trade con­sid­er­a­tions, say­ing all ef­forts by the EU to pre­serve the JCPOA have been made “be­cause of our col­lec­tive se­cu­rity.”

“That is not the case: we do this to pre­vent a nu­clear non-pro­lif­er­a­tion agree­ment that is work­ing from be­ing dis­man­tled, and to pre­vent a ma­jor se­cu­rity cri­sis in the Mid­dle East,” the se­nior EU diplo­mat pointed out.

She em­pha­sized that the EU should guar­an­tee that firms seek­ing to do le­git­i­mate busi­ness with Iran are al­lowed to do so.

“This is what we are work­ing on right now: tools that will as­sist, pro­tect, and re­as­sure eco­nomic ac­tors pur­su­ing le­git­i­mate busi­ness with Iran. It is true that this sit­u­a­tion has trig­gered a con­ver­sa­tion on European eco­nomic sovereignty,” Mogherini said.

Iran and the 28-na­tion European Union have been dis­cussing var­i­ous ways to con­tinue do­ing busi­ness with Iran by by­pass­ing U.S. sanc­tions.

On Septem­ber 24, Iran and its five part­ners re­leased a joint state­ment an­nounc­ing the set­ting up of a spe­cial pur­pose ve­hi­cle (SPV) to fa­cil­i­tate con­tin­ued trade with Iran, by­pass the U.S. fi­nan­cial sys­tem, and avoid any im­pact of Amer­ica’s se­condary sanc­tions.

Late last month, Ira­nian For­eign Min­is­ter Mo­ham­mad Javad Zarif said Tehran will not stand by for Euro­peans to ful­fill their com­mit­ments un­der the mul­ti­lat­eral nu­clear agree­ment.

“The Euro­peans are act­ing slowly in the ful­fill­ment of their com­mit­ments un­der the nu­clear agree­ment,” Zarif said, adding, “We will not wait around for them un­less they adopt prac­ti­cal steps.”

Zarif’s re­marks came af­ter chief of the Atomic En­ergy Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Iran Ali Ak­bar Salehi warned that Tehran’s pa­tience is run­ning out over the fail­ure of the EU’s eco­nomic pledges to de­liver any “tan­gi­ble re­sults”.

Salehi said the EU’s ef­forts were en­cour­ag­ing but “we have not yet seen any tan­gi­ble re­sults. So, they are promis­ing us that they are do­ing their best to be able to trans­late all that they have said in po­lit­i­cal terms and to turn it into re­al­iza­tion, in other words, to ma­te­ri­al­ize what they have said.”

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