MNA – The European Union ambassador to the US David O’Sullivan says Europe is determined to make every effort to continue to allow Iran to have the commercial benefits promised in the nuclear deal.
David O’Sullivan, European Union ambassador to the US, made the remarks in a recent interview with the American PBS.
The PBS interview took place after the foreign ministers of three European major countries of France, Germany and the United Kingdom on Thursday issued a joint statement on the creation of INSTEX (Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges), a Special Purpose Vehicle aimed at facilitating legitimate trade between European economic operators and Iran.
Trump administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal meant Iran never received much of the revenue it was promised, which is why the Europeans today announced a company, financed by Germany, France and UK, that’s designed to allow Iran to both gain some of that revenue, and keep them in the nuclear deal.
In response to question “are you trying to undermine US efforts on Iran?” the EU envoy strongly replied “absolutely not.”
O’Sullivan cited EU security concerns and Iran’s full compliance with the nuclear deal as the reasons behind European countries’ attempt to keep the Iran nuclear deal alive by launching the trade mechanism.
“I think the most important thing to underline is that we, in the European Union, believe that keeping Iran in this nuclear deal — and they are complying with this deal, as was announced just this week by the CIA — and in return for that, they are entitled to expect some economic benefit and some increased trade and economic activity,” he added.
“And the purpose of the announcement today is to allow this to happen. And, as you say, the primary focus in the beginning will be on goods which are not actually under sanction at all, which are humanitarian goods, exceptions to the sanctions regime, but which is sometimes difficult to trade because of the reluctance of financial bodies to deal with anything to do with Iran. So this will make that, we hope, easier,” the ambassador further said.
In response to another question “why risk exacerbating the disagreement with the US?”, he replied “well, we respect the decision of administration to withdraw from the agreement.”
“But we imagine they also respect the fact that we are still signatories to the agreement, and we feel bound by it…” the diplomat went on to explain.
“So we’re trying to work with the [US] administration, even as we have some disagreements about this precise deal,” he underlined.
In response to the question whether the trade mechanism will convince Iran to stay in the nuclear deal despite the fact that many companies have already left Iran, the ambassador explained “well, at the end of the day, you know, companies will have to decide whether they feel comfortable trading with Iran, and we know that some companies may take the decision not to, for fear of the secondary sanctions.”
He added “we, on the European side, are determined to make every effort we can to continue to allow Iran to have the commercial benefit from this deal which was promised.”
In reply to question “if the focus is on drugs, then how do you get Iran that economic benefit that you say it needs in order to stay in the deal?” O’Sullivan said that “well, I think the focus is on delivering stuff which is already permitted under humanitarian exceptions.”
Meanwhile, he added “but, of course, in other ways, we are also continuing to look at ways in which we can improve economic conditions with Iran. There are small and medium-sized European companies which don’t necessarily trade heavily with the United States or at all who may be interested in doing business.”
In reaction to US State Department statment saying that “entities that continue to engage in sanctionable activity involving Iran risk severe consequences that could include losing access to the US financial system and the ability to do business with the United States or US companies,” the EU ambassador to the United States said “I think the US and the European Union are very strong strategic partners.”
“We respect fully the decision of this administration to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. We believe they should also respect the fact that the European nations have decided to remain party to this, which is sanctioned by UN resolutions,” he added.