EghtesadOnline: Any suggestion of progress in talks between Iran and Europe on saving the 2015 nuclear deal is just a nicety, because the only way out of the current impasse is fulfillment of Tehran's major demands, a senior lawmaker says.
"The European side wants Iran to stop its nuclear plans and Iran is looking for a major development in regard to the issue of sanctions, meaning that it wants to be able to sell its oil and carry out financial transactions," Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh told ICANA in a recent interview.
Falahatpisheh was referring to European demands that Iran stop scaling back its commitments under its nuclear agreement with world powers, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Tehran has vowed to keep reducing its commitments every 60 days unless Europe upholds its side of the deal and offsets the impact of US President Donald Trump's decision to abandon the accord last year, Financial Tribune reported.
It has so far surpassed the limits set on the size of its stockpiles of enriched uranium and heavy water, and exceeded the maximum uranium enrichment level it had agreed to.
In the latest effort to keep the faltering pact alive, parties to the nuclear deal met for emergency talks in Vienna, Austria, on July 28, which senior Iranian nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araqchi, referred to as "constructive" despite unresolved issues.
However, Falahatpisheh argues that the use of the word "constructive" by Araqchi falls in the realm of "diplomatic compliments", because real progress would be the fulfillment of Iran's main demands.
Washington's major European allies, who opposed last year's decision by Trump to abandon the deal, have created a special trade mechanism known as the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges or INSTEX in an attempt to save the nuclear agreement.
The financial vehicle would initially only deal in products such as pharmaceuticals and foods, which are not subject to US sanctions. Iranian officials have repeatedly said it must include oil sales or provide substantial credit facilities for it to be beneficial.
'Too Little, Too Late'
Falahatpisheh, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, believes that the Europeans have done "too little, too late" to protect Iran's economic interests from renewed and toughened US sanctions.
"The Europeans took action too late in response to what happened to JCPOA. They first tried to take a political stance on the deadline set by Iran [to ramp up its nuclear program]. But after the [Vienna] meeting, it became clear that they have no feasible plan to resolve the situation surrounding JCPOA," he said.
Falahatpisheh noted that there is almost zero possibility that the nuclear agreement could be saved with the help of European countries.