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Iran To Discuss US Sanctions With Dutch, Austrian FMs

Seyyed Abbas Mousavi, the Spokesman of Iran's Foreign Ministry, has said that Iran will discuss Europe's failure to honor its commitments under the nuclear deal with Dutch and Austrian foreign Ministers. FILE PHOTO

In a statement on Wednesday Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said Dutch and Austrian foreign ministers who will be visiting Tehran in the next few days will "receive Iran’s criticism of Europe for its failure" to honor the nuclear agreement and its "inaction on the imposition of extraterritorial U.S. sanctions".

The United States withdrew from the nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018 and re-imposed tough sanctions on Iran.

Iran responded to the withdrawal of the United States from the nuclear agreement by scaling back its own commitments in five stages including abandoning operational limitations on its nuclear activities.

Hit hard by sanctions that have hugely impaired Iran's international trade, and most importantly its oil exports, Iran has sought trade assistance from European countries. Iranian officials say Iran can return to its JCPOA commitments if the European sides of the agreement comply with theirs, meaning rendering economic benefits.

“We will decide whether what Europe does is sufficient to slow down or to reverse some steps — we have not even ruled out reversing some of the steps that we have taken," Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif told reporters at the 56th Munich Security Conference on February 14.

The European Union has pledged to uphold its commitment to trading with Iran and devised a barter system that is supposed to allow legitimate trade between Iran and European countries without transferring money, to avoid U.S. sanctions.

The system which was introduced on January 31, 2019 is called Instrument in support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX). Iran says Europe has reneged on its commitments as no transactions have yet been completed through the barter system.

The Foreign Ministry Spokesman's statement also said in upcoming meetings with the two foreign ministers “the basic fact will be underscored that the security of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz will be fulfilled only through collective participation and interaction among the countries of this region".

According to the statement, the visits will take place "early next week". The first working day of the week in Iran is Saturday. It has also not been announced which Iranian officials will be meeting with the Dutch and Austrian foreign ministers.