Iran no longer banking on European support for JCPOA rights

Financial Tribune – Iran cannot rely on Europe’s support for upholding its rights under the 2015 nuclear deal, which were violated by the United States, and will pursue its own independent policies in this regard, an Iranian diplomat said. 

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi made the statement in reaction to the European Union’s refusal to take a stance against the new US threat to prevent the impending expiration of Iran’s arms trade ban.

“We cannot count much on Europeans in this regard and use our own measures; but we maintain communications with Europe and hope they make a move and defend their own historical reputation,” he said at a regular press briefing on Monday, ISNA reported.

The United Nations arms embargo on Iran is to terminate in October as per UN Security Council Resolution 2231 which endorsed the nuclear deal.

The US, no longer a party to the deal after it unilaterally quit the same in 2018 and restored sanctions on Iran, has now started a campaign to compel the UN Security Council to extend the ban indefinitely, arguing that it is still an original “participant” under the UNSCR 2231.

Russia and China have already expressed their opposition to the US move, but Europe has not yet announced its stance.

Josep Borrell, the EU foreign policy chief, told a reporter last week that Europe has to think about the issue and that he cannot yet comment on something that has not happened.

“We won’t disturb their thinking. It’s been about two years that they are thinking how to meet their commitments toward Iran and stand up to US unilateralism,” Mousavi said.

The European parties to JCPOA pledged to save the deal by protecting Iran’s interests, but have failed to take effective steps to keep Iran’s international trade afloat, practically abiding by US sanctions.

Feeble Efforts 

Their feeble efforts, including the financial mechanism called INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges), have not addressed Iran’s economic woes either.

Mousavi regretted that a bullying country is asking other states to violate the UN resolution and Europeans have done nothing so far against this pressure and oppression, except paying lip service.

“It seems that [US President Donald] Trump is seeking a kind of global anarchism and its consequences will definitely affect those who remain silent in the face of this bullying,” he said.

The Iranian diplomat also expressed pessimism about the operation of the Swiss financial channel, saying it was set up after a long time and has not conducted any significant transaction so far.

The Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement has been launched so that Swiss-based exporters and trading companies in the food, pharmaceutical and medical sectors can receive their payments from Iran.

Swiss Ambassador Markus Leitner recently said Iran’s frozen assets can be released through this mechanism for the trade of goods.

“This has not happened yet as far as I know, but efforts are being made to make it happen,” Mousavi said. “These assets belong to the Iranian nation and it is their right that these resources enter the economic cycle and the people’s everyday lives.”

Iran has between $100-120 billion of frozen assets in international accounts.