Iran Daily: Rouhani to Europe — Your Time to Save Nuclear Deal is Limited

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) and Sri Lankan counterpart Maithripala Sirisena, Tehran, May 13, 2018 (IRNA)

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has pressed Europe to “save” the July 2015 nuclear deal after the withdrawal of the Trump Administration from the agreement.

Rouhani made his latest statement in a Sunday phone call to UK Prime Minister Theresa May, “The Islamic Republic of Iran is following its own national interests by honoring the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Unfortunately other parties have not carried out their obligations in a satisfactory manner.”

He added that the Islamic Republic’s interests must be ensured.

Listen to Political WorldView Podcast: US Withdrawal from Iran Nuclear Deal

The Rouhani Government is looking not only for political support but for European governments — including those of the UK, France, and Germany, all parties to the agreement — to defy the US by backing expansion of the trade and investment necessary for Iran’s crippled economy.

European companies were already subject to US sanctions if they established links with Tehran, and Trump’s order last week gives the firms six months to break the ties, including with Iran’s energy and financial sectors.

The Supreme Leader and Iranian hardliners have added to Rouhani’s challenge by expressing scepticism that Europe will cooperate with Iran and that the Europeans can be trusted. Ayatollah Khamenei has demanded a “guarantee” from the UK, France, and Germany.

See Iran Daily, May 10: Khamenei Warns Europe About Nuclear Deal After US Withdrawal

Rouhani told May, “In the JCPOA both parties have certain obligations, it is not acceptable that only one party carries out its obligations.”

A spokesman for the British Prime Minister quoted May, “It is in both the UK and Iran’s national security interests to maintain the deal and welcomed President Rouhani’s public commitment to abide by its terms….It is essential that Iran continues to meet its obligations.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will meet European foreign policy head Federica Mogherini and his British, German, and French counterparts on Tuesday in Brussels.

The discussions follow Zarif’s meetings with Chinese officials in Beijing on Sunday and Russians in Moscow on Monday.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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