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Iran Criticizes Lack Of Progress By Europe On Trade

Iran -- Members of Parliament including Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh in a session of Parliament, undated.

An influential parliamentary leader in Iran has lambasted Europe for failing to find a city to host the so-called Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), initiated by EU to protect trade with Iran against newly reimposed U.S. sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

No EU country has been willing so far to host the operation for fear of provoking U.S. retaliation.

Describing Tehran-EU relations as "ever luxurious", the chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the Iranian parliament, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh reiterated on Thursday, November 15, "Our relations with Europe have always been superb but ineffective in neutralizing the US sanctions imposed on Iran."

"Europe's dithering in finding a city to host SPV has raised serious doubts among Iranian leaders about the relationship with EU" Falahatpisheh maintained.

Implicitly threatening EU, the independent MP argued, "Iran-EU ties are facing a serious challenge since their negotiations have led to no tangible results for Tehran, and have even had negative impacts on the mutual relations."

In the meantime, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi echoed Falahatpisheh's comments on Thursday by calling on EU countries to fulfill their economic obligations to facilitate trade with Iran in the face of US sanctions.

Abbas Araqchi asserted Tehran’s adherence to the commitments of the2015 nuclear deal, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), saying “it is time for Europe to fulfill its economic promises along with the political commitments.”

The Iranian official made the remarks during a meeting with senior Italian officials in Rome.

Infographic: Mechanism Of EU's Special Purpose Vehicle
Infographic: Mechanism Of EU's Special Purpose Vehicle

Discussion on the JCPOA and ways to preserve trade and economic cooperation between Iran and Italy in the face of US sanctions are part of the topics reviewed during his one-day visit to Italy, Fars News Agency (FNA), a website affiliated with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) reported.

Without any elaboration, Araqchi told reporters in Rome, "US abandonment of the nuclear deal has posed challenges to the 'security' of Europe, region and the international system."

Tehran-EU negotiations have been dragging on for months, while the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has repeatedly insisted that Iran should not count on Europe’s proposed package to fix the nuclear deal following Washington’s exit from JCPOA.

“We do not want to fight with Europe, but these three countries (France, Germany and the U.K.) have proven that, on the most sensitive issues, they follow the US,” Khamenei asserted on May 23.

Meanwhile, the United States increased pressure on Iran Thursday by renewing warnings to European businesses intending to interact with the country and voiced support for Iranians protesting policies of the Islamic Republic.

U.S. Special Representative Brian Hook warned on Thursday that European banks and firms who engage in a special European Union initiative to protect trade with Iran will be at risk from newly reimposed U.S. sanctions.

"European banks and European companies know that we will vigorously enforce sanctions against this brutal and violent regime," he said in a telephone briefing with reporters.

The JCPOA was signed in 2015 by Iran, the European Union and the Group 5+1 of countries (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States plus Germany). The deal stipulated the gradual easing of sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran restricting its nuclear program.

US President Donald Trump announced Washington's withdrawal from the deal last May and reimposing wide-ranging sanctions on Iran.