Iran has no benefit from the nuclear deal anymore after the US reimposed sanctions on the country, Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi said.
"The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is in critical condition,” Araqchi warned while speaking at a seminar on Iran-EU cooperation held in Brussels on Monday. “This is a reality,” he added.
The fourth round of Iran-EU high-level political talks was jointly chaired by Araqchi and Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Helga Schmid.
Araqchi said with the reimposition of US sanctions, Iran’s benefits from the 2015 nuclear deal has “nearly reached zero”.
The senior diplomat said the JCPOA used to be “quite balanced” in "giving and taking", but now, this balance has been shaken and “we should cooperate to restore it”.
Araqchi, who was a key negotiators in talks that led to the landmark between Iran and six world powers – the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, said the real reason behind European countries' reluctance to host the so-called special purpose vehicle (SPV) is the recent remarks made by Brian Hook, the US State Department's special representative on Iran.
The SPV is designed to 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.
Araqchi also underlined the strategic significant of the nuclear deal of July 14, 2015 for international and regional peace and security, and called on the European Union to put into practice their undertakings in an efficient, lasting and reciprocal manner.
"Delayed fulfillment of commitments (under the JCPOA) will seriously challenge this important diplomatic achievement of the international community," he warned.
Earlier at the same seminar, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, blasted the US withdrawal from JCPOA, but reiterated that Iran remains committed to it.
"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.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the seminar, the Iranian nuclear chief warned the EU of "ominous" outcomes if it did not follow through with action to keep the economic benefits of the JCPOA alive.
"If words are not turned into deeds, then ... it is very ominous, the situation would be unpredictable," Salehi said.
SPV possible hosts
Meanwhile, senior diplomats told the Wall Street Journal that France and Germany will likely host the SPV.
The Monday report said the governments participating in the payment channel will directly manage the company (mechanism) in order to prevent the US from putting direct sanctions on it.
According to the diplomats, British officials are also mulling over joining France and Germany in order to rescue the European attempt to circumvent the US sanctions and salvage the Iran nuclear deal following the US’ withdrawal in May.
The report said if France plays host to the SPV, Germany will take the helm, and vice versa.
According to the report, the mechanism is not finalized yet and finishing touches will be discussed on the sidelines of the 2018 G20 Buenos Aires summit, scheduled to begin on November 30.
Radio Farda, IRNA and the Wall Street Journal contributed to this story.