EU, China, Russia reaffirm commitment to Iran deal
Iran: Nuclear pact in 'intensive care unit'
The remaining signatories of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal met in Austria's capital on Friday in a bid to save the landmark pact following the US decision to unilaterally withdraw and reimpose sanctions on Iran.
At Iran's request, delegates from China, Russia, France, Britain, Germany and the European Union gathered in Vienna where they reaffirmed their commitment to the accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
EU should win Iranians’ trust
Earlier on Thursday, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi warned that Iran cannot accept both sanctions and the curbs imposed on its nuclear program under the 2015 deal at the same time
“Be sure that sanctions and the JCPOA cannot go together,” Araqchi told the second Iran-Europe Cooperation Conference in Brussels.
Araqchi urged the European sides of the JCPOA to make further efforts to gain the confidence of the Iranian nation.
“Europe should try to win the confidence of the Iranian people because most of Iranians do not believe in them”, he said.
“Iranians say the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal is part of a good cop bad cop game played with Iran by the US and the EU and Europe played the role of the good cop in the game,” the senior diplomat said.
The conference provides the two sides with a chance to bring together high-level decision-making leaders and business executives from Iran and Europe to exchange views on various issues.
Deal in ICU
Following the conference, Araqchi warned that Iran might pull out of the nuclear deal in the coming weeks, saying the landmark multinational agreement is now in the "intensive care unit."
"I told the conference today it is in the intensive care unit because it has lost its balance as a result of US withdrawal from the deal,” he said in an interview with Euronews on Thursday.
If Europeans and other remaining participants of the JCPOA are interested in continuation of Iran’s commitment to the deal, “they should compensate the absence of the US and the reimpositon of US sanctions," Araqchi said.
President Donald Trump walked out of the deal, which was signed between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations – the US, the UK, France, China, Russia and German.
Trump pledged to reimpose all anti-Iran sanctions lifted as part of the deal and institute "the highest level of economic” bans against the Islamic Republic.
The Europeans are scrambling to protect their businesses from new American sanctions, with Washington warning to punish all foreign companies that engage in trade with Iran after the end of a three-month period to leave the country.
Russia and China have reaffirmed their support for the deal, stressing that they would continue to do business with Iran.
The UK, France and Germany have, however, failed to make a decision that guarantees the deal's future and protects their financial interests in Iran.
“What matters for us is the dividends of the deal. So, we don’t care how Europeans would protect their companies but we care that their companies work with us," Araqchi said.
He urged the Europeans to guarantee that Iran's oil will be completely sold after the sanctions and the banking channels to receive the money will remain in place.
"We care that Iran’s crude oil should be sold and the money should come back, so there should be banking channels," he said.
"How they create them, it is up to the Europeans. Now that 'few weeks' are almost over or is going to be over very soon," Araqchi added.
Noting that the European countries didn't have much time, Araqchi said there was still hope for a solution to salvage the JCPOA.
Tehran was negotiating with the other signatories "to see if they can provide us with a package which can give Iran the benefits of sanctions lifting," he said.
"The next step is to find guarantees for that package," he said, adding that Iran needed specifics on how that would happen by the end of May.
"I cannot say that the prospect is bright and clear that we can have a good package, but we are still waiting and keep hoping that the package could be good enough to stay in the deal."
IRNA, Euronews and Press TV contributed to this story.