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EghtesadOnline: Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said on Sunday that the newly established mechanism for trade with Iran has fallen short and urged Europe to show more determination to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal following the US exit.

“Many around the world … speak eloquently about multilateralism, but they also need to walk the talk. For instance, INSTEX falls short of the E3 commitments to save JCPOA. Europe needs to be willing to get wet, if it wants to swim against the dangerous tide of US unilateralism,” he said in a speech at the 55th Munich Security Conference, IRNA reported. 

The chief diplomat was referring to the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges, a new channel for non-dollar trade with Iran that France, Germany and Britain have opened to get around the sanctions, reimposed on Iran after the US in May abandoned the agreement—officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The financial system will initially be used only for smaller trade, for example of humanitarian products and food, rather than oil-related transactions as repeatedly demanded by the Islamic Republic, according to Financial Tribune.



Security Aspects  

Zarif said Iran’s continued and full implementation of the nuclear deal has played a major role in decreasing tensions and promoting regional and global stability. 

“But Iran cannot foot the entire bill for vital global security achievements, whether it is the nuclear accord or the combating of drug and human trafficking to Europe,” he said, stressing that Europe needs to invest too. 

He was echoing comments made last year by President Hassan Rouhani who predicted a “deluge” of drugs, refugees and attacks toward the West if US sanctions weaken the ability of Iran—which borders Afghanistan, the world’s largest opium producer and Pakistan, a major transit country for drugs—to contain them.   

The foreign minister added that the Islamic Republic has long been the target of America’s “unhealthy fixation” for having exercised its right to self-determination.

“The demonization of my country has been a convenient cross for seven consecutive American presidents to bear—and a smokescreen for America’s regional clients to hide behind. It is long overdue for the United States to dismantle this malign institution, for it has today morphed into one of the greatest threats to even its own interests—and of course international peace and security,” he said.



US Coercion

Zarif slammed the US administration’s efforts, including at Warsaw and Munich conferences, to force Europe to quit the nuclear deal, which has been enshrined in a UN Security Council resolution and explicitly calls for normalization of economic relations with Iran. 

In his speech in Munich on Saturday, US Vice President Mike Pence pressed European countries to withdraw from the nuclear pact and “stop undermining” US sanctions against Iran. His comments came shortly after German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended Berlin’s decision to stand by the deal, CNN reported. 

He had earlier slammed Europe for its refusal to leave the accord and join Washington on increasing sanctions on Tehran at an Iran-focused summit in Warsaw on Thursday, which Zarif described as a meeting of “the unwilling” and “the openly-coerced”.



Source of Instability 

The foreign minister criticized the US “destructive” role in the region, adding that no theatrics can obscure the ground realities. 

“Indeed, more and more nations are becoming explicit about the fact that the United States is now the single biggest source of destabilization in our neighborhood,” Zarif told the audience at the Munich conference.

Hundreds of senior foreign officials attended the summit in Germany, which began on Feb. 15 and came to a close on Feb. 17. 

High on the agenda were themes such as the European Union’s self-assertion, transatlantic cooperation and the possible consequences of a renewed era of great power competition.


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