Press TV – Iran’s nuclear chief says the establishment of a new mechanism to ease trade with Iran despite US sanctions is a promising step but the Europeans must act more swiftly and adopt final measures in this regard.
“The Europeans took a promising step in terms of economy and we hope that they will keep racing ahead on the same path,” the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Ali Akbar Salehi, told reporters on Saturday.
The European signatories to the historic nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), issued a joint statement on Thursday, announcing the launch of a long-awaited direct non-dollar payment mechanism meant to safeguard their trade ties with Tehran in the face of the sanctions.
Following months-long preparations, the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Britain finally unveiled the mechanism, officially called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), after a summit in Bucharest, Romania.
Salehi further criticized the “belated” announcement of the trade mechanism and said, “Of course, this is not certainly the final step and we expect them to take final steps.”
He emphasized that the AEOI would make necessary decisions if the opposite side failed to fulfill their commitments under the JCPOA.
President Donald Trump withdrew Washington in May 2018 from the landmark Iran nuclear agreement, reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries in 2015, and decided to re-impose unilateral sanctions against Tehran.
Under the deal, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.
Trump’s administration announced re-imposition of the “toughest” sanctions ever against Iran’s banking and energy sectors with the aim of cutting off the country’s oil sales and crucial exports.
On Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang appreciated the efforts made by European countries to uphold the JCPOA after the US withdrawal from the agreement.
“It (INSTEX) fully demonstrated the EU’s determination to uphold multilateralism. China firmly supports the continued cooperation between the EU and Iran to put the mechanism into operation as soon as possible and open it to third parties so as to promote normal economic and trade cooperation between the international community and Iran,” he said.
Despite Washington’s withdrawal, Iran has not left the deal yet, but stressed that the remaining signatories to the agreement have to work to offset the negative impacts of the US pullout for Iran if they want Tehran to remain in it.