Araqchi called the Europe’s support “unprecedented” for the continent to support a country, especially Iran, in face of US sanctions.
As an instance of the European will, he cited a move by British, French, and German foreign and finance ministers to sign a joint statement with the European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini last week, in which they pledged to work together to create a ‘special-purpose vehicle’ (SPV) to bypass the US sanctions.
“Expert work is still underway,” the deputy foreign minister noted, and said that there were many legal complications and aspects to the evolution of such a system. At the same time, a similar mechanism had to be established inside Iran to be able to interact with the European one, he noted.
The European parties to the nuclear deal comprised the US, the UK, France, Russia, China and Germany. The US withdrew in May and announced on Monday that it had restored all the sanctions against Iran that had been lifted under the accord.
“Their political stances have been very good,” Abbas Araqchi said, but critiqued “their failure so far to bring about operational approaches and meet our expectations”.
He was speaking in response to a question about the special-purpose vehicle.
He, however, expressed hope that “in a very near future, this mechanism will be announced and formally registered in Europe before going gradually operational.”
Separately, he remarked on recent comments by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in which he had alleged that Iran would not restore its nuclear work to levels that existed before the implementation of the nuclear deal.
Araqchi said if Pompeo was certain that Iran would not go back, it was probably because the US still knew that the nuclear agreement was still to the Islamic Republic’s benefit.
The Iranian official, however, emphasized that Iran’s nuclear energy program had never stopped, adding that it was going on "forcefully.” He further stressed that the country had slowed down the progress of its nuclear energy activities in some areas.
Tehran was now in a better position to restore the pace of the activities, and even give them a faster pace, but doing so would depend on what suited the country’s interests, Araqchi said.
“We do not fall for Pompeo and his likeminded people’s provocations. The Islamic Republic has so far moved on very smartly and wisely, avoiding emotionally-charged actions,” Araqchi concluded.