EU energy chief: No doubt Europe to operationalize transaction mechanism
Salehi: EU ‘doing its best’ to deliver on promises
Iran and the European Union on Monday affirmed their support for the 2015 international nuclear deal and they aim to keep it alive despite US President Donald Trump's decision to abandon the landmark pact.
The EU hosted the Atomic Energy Organization, of Iran head, Ali Akbar Salehi, at a seminar on nuclear cooperation aimed at showing its continuing support for the deal after US sanctions targeting Iranian oil exports resumed this month.
Ahead of EU-Iran talks on civil nuclear cooperation in Brussels Monday, EU Energy Commissioner Arias Canete said the deal is "crucial for the security of Europe, of the region and the entire world."
He said the agreement is working and that "we do not see any credible peaceful alternative."
Trump withdrew his country in May from the Iran nuclear deal, reached between Iran and six major powers – the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – and decided to reimpose unilateral sanctions against Tehran.
Under the deal, Tehran agreed to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.
The EU and other remaining signatories to the accord hope to convince Tehran to respect the curbs that the deal placed on its nuclear program even though Washington has pulled out, depriving Iran of many of the economic benefits.
EU efforts to salvage trade relations with Tehran, including by establishing a special mechanism for non-dollar transactions, have been floundering.
The special purpose vehicle (SPV) would act as a kind of clearing house that could be used to help match Iranian oil and gas exports against purchases of EU goods in an effective barter arrangement.
"Nobody should have any doubt on the level of political ambition and determination by the member states involved, in particular France, Germany and the United Kingdom to swiftly operationalize the SPV," Canete said at a joint news briefing.
"This is a hugely complex and unique undertaking, technical work has been advancing over the last days and weeks."
Salehi said, "I hope that we can enjoy the niceties of this deal and not let it go unfulfilled."
He warned the EU of “ominous” consequences if it did not follow through with action to keep the economic benefits of the nuclear agreement alive.
"If words are not turned into deeds, then ... it is very ominous, the situation would be unpredictable," Salehi told reporters at the conference.
Salehi, however, said he believed the EU was "doing its best" and was on its way to delivering on its promises.
He also criticized the US administration's efforts to prevent the implementation of the nuclear deal by exerting pressure on other countries to make them pursue Washington's policies vis-a-vis the pact.
"This unconstructive US approach shows that this country, as a permanent member of the [United Nations] Security Council, is not committed to its international obligations," Salehi said in an address to the third seminar on peaceful nuclear cooperation in the Belgian capital Brussels.
The US administration hoped to get the other parties to the deal with Iran to likewise scrap the deal, but instead, they stressed that not only would they stick to the agreement, but they would also work to sustain it in the face of increased US pressure.
Salehi reaffirmed Iran's commitment to continue and boost constructive interaction with the EU on international nuclear cooperation, saying this would be beneficial to Tehran and the 28-nation bloc as well as the entire international community.
The Iranian nuclear chief stressed the importance of adopting measures to allay regional and international concerns over peace and security in the world, particularly at the current insecure and chaotic situation that principles of multilateralism are being violated.
A senior Iranian diplomat said that there have been constructive meetings with the Europeans on the SPV to maintain business despite US sanctions.
In a post on his official twitter account, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi said new initiatives were being designed for the SPV, adding that expert talks in this regard were underway between Iran and the European side.
Reuters, AP and Press TV contributed to this story.