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More Action Needed From Europe To Save Nuclear Deal, Say Iranian Diplomats

Kamal Kharrazi in China-- Sep 2018.
Kamal Kharrazi in China-- Sep 2018.

The head of Iran's Strategic Council on Foreign Relations Kamal Kharrazi says if Europe doesn’t meet its obligations with regard to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers, the deal will soon fall apart.

Speaking at Beijing Foreign Studies University September 11, the former foreign minister said “Europe has taken some steps in propping up the deal, including reviving its Blocking Statute. However, they have not fulfilled their obligations clearly.”

The 73-year-old veteran diplomat also noted that the European proposal for salvaging the nuclear deal despite the U.S. withdraw in May has not yet been implemented, but he hopes it will be in the coming months.

Europe has, however, already shown support for small Iranian companies and has taken steps to maintain banking ties with Iran, the government’s official news agency IRNA cited Kharrazi as saying.

Kharrazi went on to say that most countries in the world disagree with the reimposition of U.S. sanctions, and accused Washington of pursuing its agenda through “force, intimidation, and threats.” He warned that the Islamic Republic will never negotiate with the U.S. unless it “abandons its policy of threats and bullying of the people of Iran.”

President Trump decided to leave the JCPOA in May, insisting that the 2015 nuclear deal did not guarantee that Iran will not acquire nuclear weapons in the future and also citing Iran’s ballistic missile program, as well as its interventionist policies in the Middle East.

Earlier on September 4, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, had given Europe until November 5 to deliver the “practical mechanisms” for buying oil from Iran in order to save the JCPOA.

The second batch of U.S. sanctions, which will target Iran’s banking system and oil exports, will take effect one day earlier on November 4.

Iran's economy and its currency have gone into a tailspin partly as a result of U.S. sanctions. Economic hardship has led to intermittent mass protests since last December, threatening the regime.

Speaking to state-run Channel 4 TV, Araqchi said the Europeans will have to translate their statements into action before the next round of sanctions takes effect if they hope to save the deal.

Despite ongoing talks between Europe and Iran aimed at salvaging the nuclear deal and keeping European businesses in Iran, major European companies are already leaving the Iranian market in order to avoid U.S. sanctions.

France’s Total, Renault, and Air France, as well as British Airways, Dutch KLM, and German Daimler have halted their cooperation with Iran, alongside Japanese Mazda and South Korean Hyundai.