A former Iranian nuclear official and a confidant of Iran’s Supreme Leader has attacked the policy of relying on Europe to help Iran in trade, essentially circumventing U.S. sanctions.
Saeed Jalili, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representative to the influential Expediency Discerning Council (EDC) said, "After seven long months, are the Western Europeans going to run the SPV and save the [nuclear] deal or not?"
Jalili was referring to a mechanism designed by EU to keep the Iran nuclear deal alive after Washington dropped it last May.
The Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) is expected to act as a kind of clearinghouse that could be used to help match Iranian oil and gas exports against purchases of EU goods in an effective barter arrangement. However, no EU country has so far come forward as a potential host - delaying the plans.
"Do not keep Iran inactive, waiting to see whether a handful of European governments will register SPV, or not," Jalili told a gathering at Sharif University in Tehran on Monday.
He also attacked President Hassan Rouhani’s administration for pushing Iran to adopt laws against money laundering and financing terrorism. "Hopefully you (President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet) have concluded that the West is not the whole world. Therefore, do not argue that Iran should endorse an international convention for the appeasement of a handful of western governments."
Jalili, who as the secretary of the Islamic Republic's Supreme National Security Council (2007-2013) led the Iranian team in its nuclear negotiations with world powers, was referring to four bills (collectively known as the Palermo Bills) recently proposed by the Iranian government.
Rouhani's proposals, if adopted, would pave the way for the country to meet FATF requirements -- as well as those of the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), Combatting the Financing of Terrorism (CFT), and the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crimes -- in the hope of reducing international pressure on Iran’s deteriorating economy.
Nevertheless, the bills have triggered a series of heated debates and disputes across Iran, and now it is up to EDC to decide their fate.
Meanwhile, EU's hesitation in implementing the SPV has once again set the scene for the conservative allies of Ayatollah Khamenei to renew their attacks on Joint Comprehensive Plan of action (JCPOA) or the 2015 nuclear agreement.
Jalil also asserted, "Did (the US Secretary of State John) Kerry's signature guarantee JCPOA, or not? Is JCPOA a shining sun, or a switched off lamp? Has there ever been a rational deal where one side respects all its commitments, while the other turns the tables?"
However, Jalili, whose doctoral thesis is entitled "The Foreign Policy of Prophet Muhammad", did not mention the fact that his successor in nuclear talks, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif led the Iranian team more successfully, neutralizing four UN resolutions against Iran, through talks that led to JCPOA, ending most of the crippling international sanctions, at least until May 2018 when President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of JCPOA.