News ID: 232225
Published: 0315 GMT October 03, 2018

Rouhani praises Europe for taking 'big step' to keep business with Iran

Rouhani praises Europe for taking 'big step' to keep business with Iran

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani praised Europe on Wednesday for taking a "big step" toward maintaining business with Iran after the unilateral US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposition of new sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also told the BBC on Wednesday that support from Europe to preserve economic ties with the Islamic Republic in the face of US pressure was "better than expected".

In May, US President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers which aims at stalling Tehran’s nuclear capabilities in return for lifting some sanctions, and ordered the restoration of US sanctions suspended under the deal.

European powers have been scrambling to salvage the accord.

The European Union announced last week a "Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) under consideration to facilitate trade with Iran could be in place before November.

"To maintain financial and monetary relations in Iran, Europe has formed a special body... Europe has taken a big step," Rouhani said.

Rouhani said the Trump administration was "extremely angry" with Europe's decision.

European diplomats have described the SPV proposal as a means to create a barter system, similar to one used by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, to exchange Iranian oil for European goods without money changing hands.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Monday that the EU's proposed mechanism to pay Tehran the revenues from oil sales was not "an oil for food program".


EU mechanism needs to work 

Zarif expresses satisfaction with ongoing European efforts to keep the 2015 nuclear deal in place despite the US exit, but says such political will should in the end translate into workable “mechanisms” aimed at ensuring Tehran’s interests.

In an interview with the BBC on Tuesday, Zarif said UK Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron “and everybody else said that we are committed” to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA and to making sure that “Iran enjoys the economic dividends of the deal.”

“The Europeans probably made better commitments than anybody expected,” said the minister.

Zarif, however, said, making commitments alone are not enough, and called on Iran’s European partners to put into action their political will to neutralize the US anti-Iran bans.

Europeans should work “to translate those political commitments into mechanisms and I believe those mechanisms are going to be in place. Now the next test – which is the most important and difficult test – is to see whether those mechanisms work,” he said.

“We are going to be a little bit more patient,” Zarif added.


Intl. relations ‘not about falling in love’

Elsewhere in his interview, Zarif was asked whether a summit between President Trump and President Rouhani, would be impossible.

“Well, nothing is impossible,” he replied. “But the outcome of President Trump’s summit with President Rouhani would be a photo opportunity and a two-page document.”

“We have a 150-page document…which was negotiated word by word not only by Iran and the United States, but by six other powers. And having negotiated that deal and having been involved in this process for a very long time, I can assure President Trump that the US will not get a better deal,” he said.

Asked about Trump’s comments about falling “in love” with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Zarif said that international relations are not about falling in love, but about “respecting obligations.”

“The nuclear deal is not a personal deal between myself and John Kerry or president Obama and President Rouhani. It is an international agreement between seven countries and the European Union, which is included in a Security Council resolution,” he pointed out.

“The United States negotiated a deal. You know what happened in the United States when Trump came to office was not a revolution; it was simply a change of administration,” Zarif added.

Separately on Tuesday, the Iranian foreign minister addressed a UN meeting in New York on the JCPOA, where he highlighted the importance of multilateralism.

He emphasized that the Islamic Republic would never tolerate threats, and that pressure would not bring the country to the negotiating table.

Washington’s use of sanctions has undermined the US dollar in the international financial system, he added.

Reuters and Press TV contributed to this story.



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