EghtesadOnline: The "realistic" views of the new EU foreign policy chief can help open a promising and positive chapter in Iran's relations with Europe, a senior diplomat said.
"Josep Borrell's support for the Iran nuclear deal and his views toward Iran can prove effective in future relations between Iran and Europe," Iran's Ambassador in Madrid Hassan Qashqavi told IRNA in a recent interview.
Borrell, a 72-year-old Spanish veteran of European politics, was picked by EU leaders in July to become the bloc's top diplomat and is set to assume office this month, Financial Tribune reported.
He replaces Italy's Federica Mogherini, a strong supporter of broader engagement with Iran and the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers—officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
According to foreign media, Borrell has signaled the continuity of his predecessor’s stance on Iran and pledged to continue the EU policy of delivering the promised economic benefits to Tehran, which have been denied since the US withdrew from the deal unilaterally and reimposed extraterritorial sanctions.
Qashqavi called him a "worthy successor" to Mogherini and said, according to his observations, Borrell is seeking to revive EU's power and is a champion of the bloc's foreign policy independence.
He has "realistic" views and his appointment can lead to positive developments in ongoing negotiations over the nuclear agreement, the envoy said, adding that "he has a great responsibility in the EU because the European side has not met Iran's expectations so far".
France, Britain and Germany have set up a special purpose vehicle called INSTEX or the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges, to protect at least some of Iran's economy from sweeping US sanctions. However, the mechanism is not yet operational.
The arrangement will be initially confined to trade in humanitarian goods that are not subject to US sanctions, such as food and medicine. Iranian officials have repeatedly said INSTEX must include oil sales or provide substantial credit facilities for it to be beneficial.
No 'Practical' Measures
Qashqavi criticized Europe's failure to live up to its pledges, saying that it has so far not taken any "practical measures" to salvage the deal.
"The field of diplomacy is not a place for expressing hope; it is a place for taking actions," he said.
The Iranian ambassador noted that EU statements about the nuclear agreement mostly call on Iran to fully comply with the deal while ignoring the fact that the US violated it in the first place.
"This is not right. If you expect full compliance from Iran, you should also expect it from America and yourself too," he told the Europeans.
In response to US sanctions and Europe's inaction, Tehran has been surpassing the limits on its atomic activities in a phased manner. It has exceeded the deal's limits on nuclear enrichment purity and stockpiles of enriched uranium as well as research and development, including on the advancement of centrifuges used to enrich uranium.
The country has also resumed uranium enrichment at the Fordow facility, which was supposed to be used only for nuclear research and isotope production under the accord.
Iran has promised more cuts in its commitments unless Europe acts but says its measures are "reversible" if Europe does.