Iran Daily: Zarif Demands European Economic Backing for Nuclear Deal

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has demanded that the European Union and its members bolster economic links with Tehran as well as providing political support for the July 2015 nuclear deal, following the withdrawal of the Trump Administration.

After a meeting with EU Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete, Zarif said on Sunday that the EU’s commitment to maintain the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is not enough, in the face of wider US sanctions and threats against foreign companies trading and investing in Iran. The Europeans “must take more practical steps to boost economic cooperation”, he asserted.

The European Union — including the UK, France, and Germany, all part of the deal — said last week that it will institute sanctions-blocking measures to protect small- and medium-sized firms facing American punishment. However, given the scale of possible financial exposure, it held back from a commitment to the largest and most important arrangements.

French energy giant Total has said that it will not complete a $4.9 billion investment in a phase of the South Pars gas field, the largest in the world, without a waiver of US sanctions. That in turn puts in jeopardy Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh’s goal of $200 billion annual investment in Iran’s energy sector.

Some analysts say that Iran is facing a reduction of its oil exports from 2.5 million barrels per day to about 1.5 million, limiting the key source of revenue for the under-pressure Rouhani Government.

See Iran Daily, May 20: Oil Minister — Europe Can Save Our Exports

A January 2016 deal for 100 Airbus passenger planes to Iran is still in limbo, and the shipping firm Maersk and German insurance company Allianz are among those who have suspended economic activity with the Islamic Republic.

The Government’s European strategy is caught between Washington and Iran’s hardliners, who have questioned whether the EU and its members are reliable partners. The Supreme Leader has demanded “guarantees” in any talks.

Ayatollah Khamenei’s top aide, Ali Akbar Velayati, said Sunday that a “duplicitous side cannot be trusted”:

Some European officials say they are not supposed to stand up to America and give guarantees.

These contradictions in the comments of European officials raise doubts. We hope that our authorities could get the necessary guarantees in their negotiations.

Iran Rejects Report of Amended Deal

The Iranian Foreign Ministry rejected a report in a German newspaper that the Europeans have presented Tehran with a proposal for an amended nuclear deal.

Citing an unnamed senior EU official, Welt am Sonntag said Friday’s meeting in Vienna will consider revisions.

Before the US withdrawal, European leaders had spent weeks suggesting alterations such as an extension of the term limits in the JCPOA, and a parallel agreement on Iran’s ballistic missile program.

The Iranian regime has publicly rejected any renegotiation, with Zarif slapped down by MPs and hardline opponents earlier this year when reports circulated he had discussed the possibility with the EU in Brussels.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Sunday of the German report:

Such baseless news and claims are rooted in the think tanks of the Zionist media and other international anarchists as well as ill-wishers of the Iranian nation with the purpose of creating a negative atmosphere and diverting the course of dialogue between Iran and other sides in the JCPOA.

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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.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Asking the Europeans for money is unlikely to work, because the whole point of the European support for this agreement is the hope that Europeans can make money from it.

  2. Nazanin Zaghari faces new charge: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44196291

    “She appeared in court on Saturday when she was told about the new allegation of spreading propaganda. Her husband said the 39-year-old, who denied the charge, was told to expect a conviction by the judge.Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has has been held in Iran since April 2016, is serving a five-year jail sentence in Iran after being convicted of spying.”

  3. Pompeo to seek European backing for new deal with Tehran: https://www.ft.com/content/2f306b88-5c39-11e8-9334-2218e7146b04

    Mr Pompeo, who will deliver his first major foreign policy speech as America’s top diplomat at a rightwing think-tank on Monday, has previously indicated that the Trump administration would pursue a broader plan to restrain Iran. During his confirmation hearing last month, he told senators the US would do its “level best to work with our allies to achieve a better outcome and a better deal”.

  4. Pompeo delivers speech, claims the US wants a “treaty” with Iran that would restore full diplomatic and commercial relations: https://www.c-span.org/video/?445820-1/secretary-pompeo-outlines-strategy-iran

    However, Iran must basically give up everything:

    1. Come clean to the IAEA about past nuclear weapons work.
    2. End enrichment and reprocessing, including shutting its Arak reactor.
    3. Allow inspections of all military sites.
    4. End the development of ballistic missiles.
    5. Release all US citizens held in Iran.
    6. End support to Hezbollah and Hamas.
    7. Withdraw all forces from Syria.
    8. End support to the Taliban and stop harboring Al Qaeda.
    9. Cease threatening Israel and Saudi Arabia,

    • In other words, Pompeo is proposing the Libya model for Iran. I’m surprised he didn’t include recognizing Israel as a Jewish state and Iran creating an embassy in Jerusalem

    • 1. Come clean to the IAEA about past nuclear weapons work.
      2. End enrichment and reprocessing, including shutting its Arak reactor.
      3. Allow inspections of all military sites.
      4. End the development of ballistic missiles.
      5. Release all US citizens held in Iran.
      6. End support to Hezbollah and Hamas.
      7. Withdraw all forces from Syria.
      8. End support to the Taliban and stop harboring Al Qaeda.
      9. Cease threatening Israel and Saudi Arabia,

      Everything except #3 seems perfectly reasonable. Why are they doing those things in the first place?

      • You might as well ask why Iran would be doing what it believes is in it’s national interests.

        1. Iran did come clean past nuclear weapons work. The IAEA even admit as much
        2. Non starter. Iran have every right to enrich and operate civilian nuclear reactors under the NPT.
        3. Non starter
        4. Non starter. Nothing that denies conventional weapons is reasonable.
        5. Agreed
        6. Iran’s business. Let the US set the example by ending it’s support for Jihadist extremists.
        7. No starter. Iran were invited by the Syrian government. Let the US set the example by pulling out first.
        8. Iran does not support the Taliban nor harbor Al Qaeda. That would be Saudi Arabia
        9. Iran have never threatened Israel and Saudi Arabia. The only threats they have made are to respond to an attack.

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