EU must make more efforts to save nuclear deal, says Iran

Munich [Germany]: Iran on Sunday called on the European Union (EU) to do more to keep the nuclear deal afloat and take a stronger stance against diplomatic pressure and trade sanctions by the US.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at the annual Munich Security Conference of global leaders said that a recent announcement by EU’s major powers to initiate an alternative payments channel called INSTEX was not enough.

“INSTEX falls short of the commitments by EU 3 (Germany, France and the UK) to save the nuclear deal. Europe needs to be willing to get wet if it wants to swim against the dangerous tide of U.S. unilateralism,” Zarif was quoted by Anadolu News Agency as saying.

The EU 3 countries announced INSTEX last month to safeguard trade with Iran, in a move to defy the US sanctions.
His comments came barely a day after US Vice President Mike Pence called on the EU to leave the Iran nuclear deal and join Washington in its diplomatic and economic pressure campaign against Tehran.

“The time has come from our European partners to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and join us as we bring the economic and diplomatic pressure necessary to give the Iranian people, the region and the world the peace, security and freedom they deserve,” The Hill quoted Pence as saying while speaking in the same event on Saturday.

The Donald Trump administration has been closely watching European efforts to create a financial mechanism and has warned that any attempt to disassemble its “maximum pressure” on Iran will face more penalties.

In May last year, Trump announced that Washington would be withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), terming it as “defective” and the “worst ever deal” leading to a spike in tensions between the US and Iran.

In 2015, the deal was inked between five countries- the US, the UK, France, China, Russia, and also the EU. Under the agreement, the US and others agreed to lift sanctions on Iran in exchange for it agreeing to control its development of nuclear weapons programme.

In addition, Trump said the US would reinstate sanctions on Iran that were previously lifted under the JCPOA. Some of the restrictions were re-imposed on August 6 while the remaining penalties were levied on November 5.

Washington imposed the sanctions on Tehran’s shipping, financial and energy sectors and also targeted the crude oil exports of the country.