EU works on measures aimed at sustaining cooperation with Iran

EPA-EFE/FOCKE STRANGMANN

The building of the Europaeisch-Iranische Handelsbank eihbank (European Iranian Trade Bank) in Hamburg, Germany.

Tehran wants EU guarantees on oil sales, transport and banking


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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran wanted the Europeans to give guarantees on banking channels and oil sales as well as in the field of insurance and transportation, Reuters reported, citing state-run Iranian news agency IRNA.

In a phone call to French President Emmanuel Macron on August 26, Rouhani urged the remaining signatories to its 2015 nuclear agreement to act to save the pact.

“Iran has acted upon all its promises in the nuclear agreement and, with attention to the one-sided withdrawal of America … expects the remaining partners to operate their programs more quickly and transparently,” Rouhani was quoted as saying.

Washington has imposed new sanctions on Tehran after President Donald J Trump in May pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

However, the European Union is fully committed to the continued, full and effective implementation of the JCPOA, as long as Iran also respects its nuclear-related commitments, an EU spokesperson said on August 30, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal.

“The lifting of nuclear-related sanctions allowing for the normalisation of trade and economic relations with Iran constitutes essential parts of the JCPOA. At the same time, the European Union is also committed to maintaining cooperation with the United States, who remains a key partner and ally,” the spokesperson said.

“In reaction to the re-imposition of US sanctions on Iran, the EU has updated its Blocking Statute, which entered into force on August 7 to mitigate their impact on the interests of EU companies doing legitimate business in Iran,” the spokesperson said, explaining that the updated Blocking Statute is part of the European Union’s support for the continued full and effective implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the Iran nuclear deal, including by sustaining trade and economic relations between the EU and Iran, which were normalised when nuclear-related sanctions were lifted as a result of the JCPOA.

“In addition, the EU, in close coordination with the Member States and other partners, is working on concrete measures aimed at sustaining cooperation with Iran in key economic sectors, particularly on banking and finance, trade and investment, oil, and transport,” the spokesperson said, adding that as work is ongoing, details are not yet available.

Meanwhile, Macron reiterated on August 26 France’s commitment to maintaining the accord. But the French President repeated his earlier calls for broader discussions with all relevant parties that would include Iran’s nuclear program after 2025, its ballistics program and its influence in the wider Middle East region. “We will do everything so that the talks help avoid a serious crisis in the months ahead,” Reuters quoted Macron as saying in an annual speech to French ambassadors.

Iran has suggested it could take military action in the Gulf to block other countries’ oil exports in retaliation for US sanctions intended to halt its sales of crude.

Meanwhile, Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran, criticized an EU decision to give $20.7 million in aid to Tehran on August 24, saying it sent “the wrong message at the wrong time,” and he urged Brussels to help Washington end the Iranian threat to global stability.

On August 23, the EU announced it would provide Iran with €18 million ($20.7 million), part of a larger package of €50 million the EU has earmarked for the Iranian regime over the coming months.

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