Iran urges EU to expedite setting up SPV ‘before it’s too late’

MNA – Iran’s nuclear chief has urged Europe to accelerate the launch of a promised trade mechanism aimed at bypassing US sanctions before it becomes too late.

In an interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) published on Sunday, Head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Ali Akbar Salehi, commented on the current situation of cooperation between Iran, the Europeans, Russia and China within the framework of Iran’s nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and said ‘it is unfortunate to say that lately the developments have not been very encouraging.’

He said Europe should take this as a message.

Salehi further expressed hope that “before it is too late, Europeans, in particular, should fulfill what they have promised beforehand; otherwise, I am afraid that the future developments will not be conductive neither for us nor for them or even for other participants of the JCPOA.”

He was referring to the EU’s promised trade mechanism known as Special-Purpose Vehicle (SPV), which is an alternative payment channel for Iran to continue trade transactions with the EU by circumventing the US sanctions.

There have been reports that the EU would set up the trade mechanism by next Monday, January 29.

Elsewhere in the interview, Salehi went on to say that Iran does not want to see the nuclear deal disintegrated and breached by any of the present members.

He said although the US has already withdrawn from the JCPOA – back in May 2018 – there are still other parties still committed to the agreement.

Salehi went on to reiterate that “Iran has been fulfilling its commitments under the deal and the 13 reports by the IAEA confirming the fact is a clear proof of this claim.”

“The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed this in its 13 consecutive reports, based on a robust verification system, proving that Iran is implementing its nuclear commitments. There is no credible peaceful alternative to the JCPOA,” the official added.

The top nuclear official noted that “Iran’s patience is wearing thin and it is time for the EU to take its strategic decision. “

“On the side of the Europeans, it’s been months since they have promised us to come up with the SPV scheme which unfortunately has not yet been materialized,’ Salehi said.

“I have heard in the recent news that hopefully by Monday they will probably announce the formation of the SPV,” he added.

“I hope that they will take this step because this is an encouragement and will help keep the trust that we worked so hard to build between the two sides; otherwise, we will be losing the trust and once the trust is lost everybody will be a loser in the game,” the nuclear chief stressed.

“So I say that this is a battle we should not lose,” he added.

Salehi went on to add, “we should win this battle and we can only win it together. Otherwise, it will become a battle already lost and certainly this will not be in the interest of the Europeans, specifically if one considers that they look at the JCPOA mainly from the perspective of security.”