FM Zarif: Iran ready for a serious diplomacy
EU, Turkey: Iran should enjoy JCPOA benefits
Iran and Italy discussed the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), a payment mechanism being devised by Europe to facilitate trade with Iran in the face of US sanctions.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met his Italian counterpart Moavero Milanesi in Rome Thursday to review measures taken by the Europeans to protect the 2015 nuclear deal after the US withdrawal.
“The US has violated not only the JCPOA, but also the UN Security Council Resolution 2231 and now it is urging others to do the same and threatens to punish the countries that respect it,” Zarif said, referring to the nuclear deal and the UN resolution which endorsed it.
Zarif is in the Italian capital on an official visit to attend the Mediterranean Dialogues Conference (MED 2018).
The Italian foreign minister said the JCPOA helps promote international peace and security, stressing that Rome will make all-out efforts to help protect it along with other EU countries.
Talks between Iran and the European side come a week after the US special envoy for Iran threatened European banks and firms with fresh sanctions if they apply the SPV.
The SPV is an alternative payment mechanism that can help companies trade with Iran without facing US penalties.
Despite Washington’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May and reimposition of sanctions on Tehran in November, the Europeans have reaffirmed their commitment to the JCPOA, as have Russia and China.
Iran has not left the landmark nuclear deal yet, but stressed that the remaining signatories to the agreement have to work to offset the negative impacts of the US pullout for Iran if they want Tehran to remain in it.
In their Thursday meeting, Zarif and Milanesi also pointed to historic, broad and growing ties between the two countries, highlighting their political will to develop and deepen ties in various political, economic, cultural and international fields.
The two sides also discussed efforts to promote economic and cultural cooperation, particularly in the fields of tourism and science, among others.
Also on Friday, Zarif met Italy’s Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Roberto Fico.
Zarif told Fico that the US “illegal” withdrawal from the JCPOA and its “continued pressure” on other countries is an act of “bullying” which would have negative short-term and long-term impacts on international relations.
The top Italian lawmaker said his country and the EU would “make every effort” to preserve the nuclear deal and “keep the door of dialogue and diplomacy open”.
Trump ‘not trustworthy’
Speaking at the 4th edition of MED 2018 forum in Rome on Thursday, Zarif said negotiations with the US to save the JCPOA are pointless because US President Donald Trump is not trustworthy and that Tehran would not renege on any deal made.
Trump has branded the landmark agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries – the US, the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany – a "disaster."
Iran has made it clear that it continues to stick to the current terms of the deal and work with the European signatories to overcome the sanctions.
Zarif stressed that the US could not be trusted for any further talks without the required guarantees, something he said was too much to expect from the Trump administration.
"If we are to make an agreement with the United States, what is the guarantee that the agreement will last after the flight? You remember Canada?" he said, taking a jab at Trump for his last minute refusal to sign a G7 summit closing statement in June, after his plane left host Canada.
"How are we to be confident that the signature stays on the paper?" Zarif added.
The deal’s future became even more unclear earlier this month, after sweeping new American sanctions targeting Iran’s oil exports came into effect.
Despite granting waivers to Iran’s main oil buyers for the time being, Washington has warned that it would punish European companies that engage in business deals with Iran.
Iran has threatened to pull out of the JCPOA if it no longer received the economic benefits of it.
Zarif said while he was certain that Europe would be able to guarantee the deal’s future, Iran was not going to wait long.
“As I said we rely on our people and that is where the red line is,” he said. “If our people believe that the deal is not conducive to their economic interests then we will have to respond to the will of our people.”
The agreement, reached after extensive talks in the Austrian capital of Vienna, envisaged the removal of all nuclear-related sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on certain parts of the country’s nuclear energy program.
"We spent two-and-a-half years, this is not a two-page document, this is not a picture opportunity. This is a 150-page document," Zarif said of the JCPOA, suggesting that Trump's objection to deal was mainly because of his “hatred” for the things his predecessor, Barack Obama, had accomplished.
"Why should we resume another talk just because somebody doesn't like it, just because somebody hates his predecessor? That's not the reason you engage in diplomacy, diplomacy is a serious game and we are ready for a serious game," the FM said.
Zarif pointed out that the deal was not between Iran and the Obama administration because it also involved the P5+1 and the EU while also being enshrined in UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
Sustaining JCPOA’s benefits
The EU and Turkey stand together on the importance of Iran receiving economic benefits as the result of lifted sanctions, said EU officials and Turkey’s foreign minister said in a joint statement on Thursday.
"We agreed on the importance of sustaining the economic benefits" Iran has been enjoying since the lifting of sanctions following the 2015 nuclear deal, said the statement by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Johannes Hahn, EU enlargement commissioner, and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu who met in Turkey’s capital Ankara.
Press TV and Anadolu contributed to this story.