EU energy chief confers with top Iranian officials

May 21, The Iran Project – EU Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete arrived in Tehran on Friday (May 18) for a two-day visit, aims to reassure Iran that the 28-nation EU wants to keep trade open despite the US withdrawal from the pact, announced by Trump on May 8.

While in Tehran, he conferred issues of mutual interests with senior Iranian officials including Petroleum Minister Bijan Zangeneh, Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian,  Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, chief of Iran’s Department of Environment Isa Kalantari and participated in a joint press conference attended by Head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi.

Commenting on his meeting with Canete, Zanganeh said the European Climate Action and Energy Commissioner delivered the message of EU on protecting the JCPOA to Iran and expressed the resolve of the European leaders in this regard.

“In the meeting, we discussed the ways to materialize the political will of the European Union and we also exchanged views on issues formerly discussed by the foreign ministers of Iran and the three European countries (UK, France, and Germany),” Zangeneh stated.

Talking with senior EU energy chief, Ardakanian reiterated that European companies’ investment in the Islamic Republic of Iran will experience a considerable hike.

Canete, for his part, said: “we have planned accurately in order to remove investment obstacle in Iran and resolve currency transfer problem as well.”

Talking to Canete, Zarif noted that the US exit from the JCPOA has increased public opinion’s expectations from the EU to maintain the deal.

“In the current situation European political support for the JCPOA is not enough,” Zarif said.

In a meantime, Canete pointed to JCPOA position following departure of the US, and said that what is important is the European countries’ resolve to preserve JCPOA’s achievements and to continue cooperation between the European companies and Iran.

Canete added that the US pullout from the JCPOA had created problems for Europe, but the EU message is to continue cooperation with Iran in maintaining and protecting JCPOA.

Speaking to EU Commissioner, Kalantari hoped that European countries could retain their independence against the United States in this stage.

Referring to status of Paris Agreement in Iran, he said the legal procedures for ratification of Iran’s joining to the agreement are under way.

Canete, in turn, emphasized that EU sticks to all its commitments to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Touching on the US withdrawal from Paris agreement, he added that the United States’ refusal to pay its $2 billion contribution has caused difficulties in enforcing the agreement and European countries are trying to address this problem.

At the press conference with EU senior chief, Salehi said US’ decision to quit Iran Deal was an unwise move and proved that Iranian authorities were right to believe that “the US is not trustworthy”.

“If not heard at that time by some, it is heard and established for the whole world that the US is not dependable and trustworthy in international deals,” said Salehi.

The EU commissioner, for his part, said JCPOA resulted from one decade of multilateral successful diplomacy and indicated necessity for peaceful settlement of disputes and a key element in structure of world nuclear non-proliferation.

“We believe continuation of implementation of JCPOA, which was achieved by consensus in Resolution 2231, is so vital for development and progress in the region and world peace and security,” Canete said.

The US president announced on May 8 that Washington was walking away from the nuclear agreement, which was reached between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the US, Britain, France, Russia and China — plus Germany.

Trump also said he would reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.