EghtesadOnline: The meeting of the 2015 nuclear deal's Joint Commission on Friday devolved into serious finger pointing, as the atmosphere tensed and signatories disputed claims of implementation of the agreement by all parties.
"There is extensive criticism over the implementation of JCPOA by all sides," Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, who represented Iran at the meeting, told reporters in Vienna, Austria, ISNA reported.
He used the abbreviation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name of the accord between Iran and the six world powers that has been on shaky ground since the United States' withdrawal and reimposition of sanctions last year.
The American restrictions and the remaining parties' failure to make up for them have deprived Iran of the deal's benefits, forcing it to eventually reduce its compliance step by step, Financial Tribune reported.
JCPOA signatories insist that Iran must return to full compliance while Tehran argues that the other sides, especially the European parties, have fallen short of their commitments to protect the country's interests and need to take effective measures to fulfill their obligations.
According to a statement by the chair of the meeting, Secretary of the European External Action Service Helga Schmid, the attendants acknowledged that the US measures have not allowed Iran to reap the full benefits arising from sanctions lifting.
However, they expressed "serious concerns" about Iran's recent steps and "strongly encouraged" Tehran to take all steps toward the full implementation of its nuclear commitments and to "avoid further escalatory steps".
Iran's stance, according to Araqchi, remains unchanged and was reiterated during the meeting.
"With total seriousness, the process of Iran's reduction of its compliance will continue until solutions are found for it to enjoy JCPOA benefits and the lifting of sanctions," he said.
The purpose of Iran’s nuclear measures is to induce the remaining parties to take serious action in support of its rights. Iranian officials have repeatedly declared that all moves will be immediately reversed once the country's economic concerns are addressed.
According to Araqchi, the commission agreed to arrange meetings of the Working Group on Implementation of Sanctions Lifting to review new ideas to resolve the issues.
The commission later discussed the future of Iran-Europe trade relations in light of the European financial mechanism, known as INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges), that aims to facilitate trade with Iran by circumventing US sanctions.
"INSTEX is reaching its final stages of being operationalized with six new countries joining it," Araqchi said.
"Participants welcomed the decision by the governments of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway to join INSTEX, including the perspective to open it in due course to economic operators from third countries," Schmid’s statement read.
The deputy minister also held bilateral meetings with other participants at the event, including the new chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi.
He said the meeting was "fruitful" and the two sides agreed to preserve the previous "positive and constructive" cooperation between Iran and the agency and stressed the need for IAEA's impartiality.
Araqchi also met Schmid and discussed the new policies of the European Union and how to continue cooperation following the replacement of Federica Mogherini with Josep Borrell as the EU foreign policy chief.
"The EU is in fact the coordinator of JCPOA and plays a key role in its survival," he said.