EghtesadOnline: Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that other parties to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal had agreed to work out ways of trading with Iran independently of the United States’ “whim”, Interfax news agency reported.
Lavrov said new ways of trading with Iran would be needed if Washington restores sanctions against Tehran, according to Interfax as reported by Reuters.
On Friday, the foreign ministers of Iran, Russia, China, Germany and France, as well as the UK minister of state for the Middle East and the EU high representative for foreign and security policy, held a meeting in Vienna to discuss the future of the Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), after the unilateral US withdrawal from it.
On May 8, US President Donald Trump announced that his country would exit the deal. In addition, he decided to reinstate the previously lifted sanctions on Iran. The unilateral move has been opposed by other signatories, which pledged commitment to the agreement. A joint statement by the ministers in Vienna confirmed the need to continue the full and effective implementation of JCPOA. The participants also expressed their intention to support economic agents, in particular, small and medium-sized enterprises trading with Iran, and to protect their commercial and financial activities in the country, Financial Tribune reported.
The statement also recalled that the European Union was currently in the midst of amending its Blocking Statute, which protected the EU firms from the application of sanctions by a third country, in order to exempt the European companies from complying with US sanctions against Iran.
Permanent Expert Mechanism
Countries that remain committed to the nuclear deal on Iran - Russia, China, Germany, France and the UK - agreed to establish a permanent expert mechanism that will be tasked with finding ways to maintain trade with Iran regardless of US sanctions, Lavrov told reporters in Vienna as reported by RT.
"We agreed, though it was not easy given that the European troika, Russia, and Iran often have very different interests, that the permanent mechanism of the joint commission at the level of experts will work on a regular basis to review options that will allow keeping all the obligations under the JCPOA despite the US decision, and maintaining trade and economic ties with Iran… independently from the US," Lavrov said.
The minister also expressed doubts that US sanctions policy against Iran would be changed.
"Yes, the threat of extra-territorial sanctions, which Washington is imposing in the coming month as the first wave, followed by the ban on buying Iranian oil as the second wave of sanctions in November, has already been voiced by Washington. Everyone agrees that this practice is absolutely illegitimate. But this is the policy that is unlikely to be changed. There will be an intensive fight in trade and economic and political spheres. The permanent expert mechanism will be working out trade solutions that will not create problems for economic actors of those countries who remain committed to the JCPOA," he added.
Lavrov stressed the importance of comprehensive trade solutions and methods toward Iran.
"It is of utmost importance to have these trade solutions and methods comprehensive enough because Iran agreed on this deal in exchange for a full liberalization of those conditions that existed during the sanctions regime. These agreements are put forward in the final statement of the meeting. It also mentions the areas that we are going to work on in order to have a trade and economic partnership with Iran independent from the US," the minister said.
According to the top official, Russia, China, France, Germany, and the UK had once again decried the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal in the strongest terms and described it as ungrounded and politicized.
"The meeting of the joint commission on the JCPOA took place and it was focused on the situation around the nuclear deal on Iran after the unilateral US withdrawal from it regardless of the obligations that Washington undertook relating not only to the JCPOA but also to the unilaterally approved UN Security Council resolution. Everyone agreed that this is a grave violation of the conditions which were jointly approved and which allowed to largely ease tensions that existed in the regional political and security situation, as well as in non-proliferation regime and trade relations with Iran," Lavrov said. The minister noted that Iran had fulfilled thoroughly all its obligations under the JCPOA and that the agreement had been working efficiently since it was signed in 2015.
"This deal has been working efficiently throughout all the three years. Iran fulfilled all its obligations thoroughly, and it was and still is verified by the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency]. Therefore, everyone agreed once again that this step by the United States was not based on any real reasons apart from the desire to politicize the situation around Iran again and to dictate to Tehran new conditions that have no relation to the problems that existed around the nuclear program of Iran," the minister added.
Lavrov also highlighted that the IAEA had unprecedented access to Iran's nuclear facilities, which could have been related to the country's nuclear program. "At the moment, Iran is checked by the IAEA more than any other country. The IAEA has an unprecedented access to all the facilities that could have been related to the military side of the nuclear program. Jeopardizing such an important agreement that reinforces non-proliferation regime is risky and short-sighted," the minister said.
Trade With Iran Without USD
Lavrov also mentioned that Paris was considering the introduction of payment methods that would allow abandoning the use of the US dollar in its trade with Tehran.
"Our French colleagues explained that they cannot do anything about it. What they can do is jointly and individually work out such forms of trade and payments that will not be dependent on the US dollar and that will be used by companies who see more benefit in trading with Iran than with the US. Such companies, smaller or bigger, must exist," Lavrov told reporters after the ministerial meeting. The Russian foreign minister noted that EU states sought to implement policies which would allow meeting both their economic interests and political obligations.