Wednesday, 05 February, 2020

“Iran ready to continue cooperation with EU to solve problems”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has once again reaffirmed the Islamic Republic’s full commitment to a historic nuclear deal it clinched with major world powers in 2015, expressing Tehran’s readiness to continue cooperation with the European Union to resolve issues surrounding the accord.

In a meeting with European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Tehran on Monday, Rouhani criticized the signatories to the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), for failing to fulfill their obligations after the US’ unilateral withdrawal from the agreement.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is still ready for interaction and cooperation with the European Union to resolve issues, and any time the opposite side completely upholds its commitments, Iran will also return to its commitments,” Rouhani said.

Pointing to 12 years of efforts and measures, which finally led to the conclusion of the JCPOA, the Iranian president expressed regret that the US’ unilateral pullout from the deal has created numerous obstacles and problems for other sides in the way of their full implementation of the accord.

Commenting on Iran’s suspension of its JCPOA obligations, he emphasized that the country’s rollback of its commitments falls within the framework of the nuclear accord aimed at preserving it.

US President Donald Trump, a stern critic of the landmark deal, unilaterally pulled Washington out of the JCPOA in May 2018, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism in an attempt to strangle the Iranian oil trade.

In response to the US move, Tehran has so far rowed back on its nuclear commitments five times in compliance with Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, but stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the mutual trade from the US sanctions.

On January 5, Iran took a final step in reducing its commitments, and said it would no longer observe any operational limitations on its nuclear industry, whether concerning the capacity and level of uranium enrichment, the volume of stockpiled uranium or research and development.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani stressed the importance of making joint efforts by Iran and the EU to resolve regional and international issues and said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran is still committed to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s supervision and the process of supervision will continue like before unless we face new conditions.”

The Iranian president condemned US policies vis-à-vis regional countries and said Washington has made many “strategic mistakes” in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan.

The latest US move carried out in cooperation with the Israeli regime was another mistake and “is doomed to failure,” Rouhani said, pointing to US President Donald Trump’s anti-Palestinian scheme.  

Defying international outcry, Trump announced the general provisions of the scheme, which he has controversially dubbed “the deal of the century,” on Tuesday, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his side. Palestinian sides were conspicuous by their absence at the ceremony given their vociferous disagreement to the plot.

EU will do its utmost to keep JCPOA in place: Borrell

The EU’s top diplomat, who is in Tehran on his first trip since taking office, called for more efforts to remove obstacles in the way of the JCPOA implementation and said the European sides have unfortunately failed to live up to their obligations.

As the EU foreign policy chief, Borrell vowed to make his utmost efforts to develop strong interaction with Iran in order to preserve the JCPOA.

Earlier in the day, Borrell and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif discussed latest developments pertaining to the nuclear deal and ways to de-escalate tensions in the Persian Gulf.

The two top diplomats also exchanged views about the implementation of a non-dollar direct payment channel — officially called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) — aimed at facilitating trade with Iran in the face of US sanctions.

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