Speaking to a group of Iranian expatriates in Frankfurt, Germany, during a stopover Sunday on his way home from attending the UN General Assembly in New York, Zarif said Europe had been trying "for five months" to create a credit line for Iran to sell its oil, "but it has failed to manage even such a minor job."
“That’s because it (Europe) is not even allowed by its master to spend its own money for its own security.”
Earlier this month, France proposed offering a $15-billion line of credit to compensate Iran for not being able to sell its crude oil abroad because of US sanctions.
"When we enter talks with a European president whose country is a permanent member of the UN Security Council that has an atomic bomb, he tells us 'I cannot do anything without President Trump'," Zarif said. He did not name the European country, but the comment was interpreted as a reference to French President Emmanuel Macron.
“If these days you see that the Europeans are getting a little closer to the US and becoming its allies, it's not because they saw us in a weak spot, but because they have failed to withstand the US,” Zarif said.
Tensions have been running high between Iran and the US since May 2018, when Trump unilaterally pulled out his country from the multilateral nuclear deal with Iran, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
The American president is a stern critic of the deal, which was clinched in July 2015 by Iran and the US, France, Britain, China, Russia, and Germany.
Ever since quitting the JCPOA, Trump has been trying to force Iran into accepting a more wide-ranging alternative that curbs Tehran’s missile program and regional influence.
Back in January, Britain, France, and Germany announced the establishment of a mechanism aimed at enabling non-dollar trade between the European Union and Iran, officially called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX).
The apparatus is supposed to circumvent the sanctions that Washington began re-imposing against Iran after leaving the JCPOA. But in reality not much has been achieved. Trade with Iran has not surged via INSTEX, and Europe has not stood up to the US over its illegal sanctions against Iran.
The three European countries have so far failed to uphold their commitments. They have expressed vocal support for the JCPOA, but failed to provide meaningful economic incentives as required under the nuclear agreement.
Iran nuclear case
Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi on Monday dismissed the nuclear case being sent back to the UN Security Council if Iran goes ahead with its pledge to take new steps away from the 2015 deal in response to European failure.
British media have reported that the EU had told Iran that it would start withdrawing from the nuclear deal in November if Tehran further forwent its commitments.
According to BBC and The Guardian, this would trigger the deal's dispute mechanism and if necessary a worldwide sanctions snap-back would occur, where Iran's case would be sent back to the Security Council.
The council removed the case from its docket when it endorsed the JCPOA.
Speaking to reporters in Tehran, Mousavi said Iran's referral to the Security Council again is "dead and from the legal standpoint, there is no possibility of Europe using the snap-back mechanism."
Iran has already taken three separate calibrated steps away from the deal, and has warned it will take a fourth in November unless the Europeans do something about their obligation to protect Tehran from US sanctions.
The Europeans have, instead, told Iran that they would put the issue of Iran's further moves into the agreement’s formal dispute mechanism if the next Iranian move away from the deal were significant, The Guardian reported on Friday.
Mousavi described Europe's alleged plan to withdraw from the JCPOA as "illegal." He also criticized the Europeans for not being able to separate their foreign policy from that of Washington.
AP and Press TV contributed to this story.