EghtesadOnline: Secretary-General of the European External Action Service Helga Schmid underscored the collective obligation of all parties to keep the unraveling 2015 nuclear deal alive.
“In Vienna to prepare first #JCPOA Joint Commission of 2020, to continue to oversee the implementation of the agreement. We have a collective responsibility to preserve the #IranDeal,” she said on Twitter, using the abbreviation of the deal’s formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
She posted the statement before the deal’s Joint Commission convened for regular talks in Vienna, Austria, on Wednesday, Financial Tribune reported.
JCPOA was signed between Iran and the six world powers, but the United States pulled out of it in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.
The Joint Commission, which was set up to oversee the deal’s implementation, continued its quarterly meetings without the US.
The Wednesday meeting was held at the level of political directors as the first series of talks in 2020.
Helga Schmid and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi jointly chaired the commission.
The EU senior official later said on Twitter that they had “crucial discussion with participants on the way forward to preserve #Iran Deal”.
Iran has scaled back its commitments to restore balance between its benefits and obligations.
The European Union has acknowledged that ensuring the benefits promised to Iran under the deal is now essential to JCPOA’s survival.
More Serious Ideas
Araqchi told reporters after the meeting that the participants discussed ways of ensuring Iran’s interests “under what has remained of the deal”.
“In this meeting, more serious and centralized ideas were presented, especially by European countries, for strengthening INSTEX,” he said, ISNA reported.
He was referring to the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges that was jointly launched by France, Germany and Britain to facilitate trade with Iran by circumventing US sanctions.
Although the financial system has been welcomed and several European countries have joined it, it has not conducted any significant transactions for Iran.
Araqchi stressed that Iran’s expectations of JCPOA are not limited to such trade mechanisms, but include a wider range of demands in return for adhering to its nuclear commitments.
“Efforts by remaining parties to preserve JCPOA continue, but we emphasize in each meeting that without safeguarding our economic benefits, our return to full compliance is not possible,” he said.
Iran has declared that it would reverse all its moves once its economic demands are satisfied.
The Wednesday gathering was also the first session after the three European parties, France, Germany and Britain, triggered the dispute resolution mechanism in early January, opening the door to the restoration of global sanctions on Tehran.
The joint commission is a forum where the JCPOA signatories can discuss any dispute over the deal’s implementation. If not solved within a set timeframe, the issue will then go to the United Nations Security Council, where the members can vote for the so-called snapback of UN sanctions on Iran.
They triggered the mechanism after Iran took the final step of its rollback plan last month, but the EU later announced that they have extended the mechanism’s timeline to prevent the case from reaching UNSC.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi also said on Tuesday that the current meeting had nothing to do with the mechanism and was an ordinary session of the joint commission.