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EghtesadOnline: Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif on Sunday called on Europe to focus efforts on normalizing economic ties with Iran as required by the 2015 nuclear agreement instead of raising new issues outside the framework of the deal.

He made the statement in response to the recent call by France for new negotiations over Iran's missile and regional activity, areas that are not included in the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 

"Europeans are in no position to criticize Iran for issues outside the JCPOA," he said during his visit to a school in Tehran, ISNA reported.  

Europe expressed support for the nuclear deal after the United States walked away last year and reimposed sweeping sanctions on Tehran, according to Financial Tribune.

US President Donald Trump criticized the accord as flawed for not placing a permanent ban on Iran’s nuclear program and for not covering Iran’s ballistic missile program, or its role in Middle East conflicts.

European signatories (France, Britain and Germany), despite sharing the same concerns, have defended the nuclear accord. They believe at least JCPOA places curbs on Iran’s nuclear program and can be the basis for future talks.

French President Emmanuel Macron said in a recent meeting with Trump that Europe seeks to settle the same issues with Iran through a new round of talks. 

“I think we do share the same objectives on Iran. We want to be sure they don’t get nuclear weapons [an objective Iran denies pursuing]. We had an accord until 2025 and we want to go further and have full certainty in the long run,” he said.

“[Then] reduce ballistic activity and contain Iran regionally and we have a fourth objective which is peace in the region. To build that, we need to start a negotiation. We need to open a new negotiation.”



Inept and Regrettable  

The nuclear deal is facing a risk of breakdown, as other parties have not yet fulfilled their commitments under JCPOA to keep trade with Iran afloat. 

Europe introduced a payment channel known as INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) to facilitate trade with Iran through a non-dollar system. 

It was registered in late January with a long delay and has not been activated yet, although a corresponding entity has already been established in Iran. 

"Europeans need to explain to what extent they have normalized trade with Iran as explicitly required by JCPOA and [the United Nations Security Council] Resolution 2231," Zarif said. 

Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani also on Sunday criticized Macron's remarks as "inept and regrettable". 

"Macron’s comments did not match what he has been telling our president ... in their meetings and on the phone," he said.


Europe Iran nuclear agreement trade ties economic ties Mohammed Javad Zarif Normalization of Trade Ties Normalization