Rouhani warns Iran will quit JCPOA if can’t benefit from it
Macron: France remains committed to nuclear deal
Zarif: Still no guarantees from EU
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned world powers on Tuesday that it was impossible for Tehran to stay in the nuclear deal if it cannot benefit from the accord after the US withdrawal.
“If Iran cannot benefit from the deal, then it’s practically impossible to stay in the accord,” Rouhani said in a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron.
Rouhani said he was satisfied with Europe’s stance, especially French efforts to salvage the 2015 deal, but that “such statements should be combined with actions and tangible measures.”
“We should not allow this great diplomatic achievement to be destroyed by others’ unilateral measures and acts of violation,” he said.
Rouhani expressed hope that efforts by the five remaining signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and Iran as well as the European Union would be successful and fruitful.
The pact between Iran and world powers lifted international sanctions on Tehran. In return, Iran scaled back its nuclear activities.
Since President Donald Trump withdrew the United States in May, calling the accord flawed, European signatories – France, Britain and Germany – have been scrambling to ensure Iran retains enough economic benefits to persuade it not to pull out.
Trump has said he would reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.
France to stick to Iran deal
Macron’s office said he had told Rouhani in the same telephone conversation that France remained committed to the nuclear deal but Tehran needed to fully comply with its commitments.
“The president of the republic recalled the will of France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China, to continue to implement the Vienna agreement in all its dimensions,” Macron’s office said.
“The president informed President Rouhani of the progress in the work being done on our side. He hoped that Iran, for its part, will fulfill its obligations without any ambiguity.”
Macron said Tehran and Paris have a common stance on the JCPOA and urged all the deal’s signatories to try to save it and not allow those who seek to destroy the deal to make the slightest mistake.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in May that Paris is weighing possible ways that could help the European Union compensate European companies that might be facing sanctions by the United States for doing business with Iran following Washington's withdrawal from the key nuclear agreement.
Le Maire said that EU rules going back to 1996 could allow the 28-nation union to protect European companies against any US sanctions and added that the EU should toughen its stance in this regard.
Macron’s office confirmed that a previously agreed ministerial meeting between all the remaining signatories of the deal, the European powers, China and Russia, would be held in the coming weeks in Vienna.
French diplomatic sources said the meeting was likely to take place during the week of June 25.
No guarantees yet
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Iran has not received any action plan from Europe to guarantee Tehran’s economic interests.
“We still have not received the required operational package, but the EU, China and Russia are working on it,” he said while he arrived in South Africa for a diplomatic trip.
He noted that the remaining signatories to the deal have announced their commitment to ensuring that Iran would benefit from staying in the accord.
No better alternative
The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, told a European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg on Tuesday that the US departure from the JCPOA has had a negative effect on the credibility of international agreements.
Mogherini underscored the EU’s support for the JCPOA, stressing that the there was no “alternative” to it, regardless of the US withdrawal.
She added that finding solutions for banking and financial issues is a key challenge for the EU member states.
“The most important challenge now is to find solutions for banking and finance because legitimate trade and investment needs banking partners and financial models that work,” she added.
“These issues are being addressed through intensive expert consultations happening basically on a daily basis, including in Brussels and in Tehran last week, but also on the political level,” she added.