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JCPOA An ‘Existential Interest’ for Europe: IAI Director

TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – The director of the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) thinktank in Rome, Italy, described the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers as an “existential interest” for Europe, stressing that the 28-member bloc is doing everything it can to save the agreement.

– Nuclear news –

“…the EU and in particular the EEAS (European External Action Service) have been working on this (the special purpose vehicle (SPV)), on the technical details of it for a number of months and weeks now,” Nathalie Tocci told Press Shia Agency after France and Germany announced last month that they may host the SPV.

The system is expected to allow businesses to continue trading with the Islamic Republic in the US sanctions era.

She added that other EU member states have so far refused to host the payment system as they fear the US may decide to take “retaliatory measures” against them through secondary sanctions.

“As you know Austria and Luxemburg came under pressure by the United States not to host the SPV and ultimately they backed out,” Tocci said.

“Three signatories (France, Germany and Britain) of the JCPOA are ready to get wet,” she said.

Tocci was referring to remarks by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in an interview with Italy’s Rai News24 in late November who had said, “It is impossible to swim without getting wet”.

“In the case of the United Kingdom, obviously it is slightly different given the issue of Brexit… when it comes to France and Germany; they will share the burden of wetness by finding a mechanism so that one country will physically host the SPV and in the other country the SPV will be legally registered”.

“So I think it is very fair if you like the way in which Europeans are trying to do what they can and, obviously and inevitably, they will try to the extent possible to get as wet as possible and create Transatlantic (trade with Iran).”

When it comes to the JCPOA, Europeans try to do what they to save the agreement, as it is an “existential interest” for Europe, said Tocci, who is also Special Adviser to High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.

The European Union has vowed to counter US President Donald Trump’s renewed sanctions on Iran, including by means of a new law to shield European companies from punitive measures.

On May 8, the US president pulled his country out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal that was achieved in Vienna in 2015 after years of negotiations among Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany).

Following the US exit, Iran and the remaining parties launched talks to save the accord.

Trump on August 6 signed an executive order re-imposing many sanctions on Iran, three months after pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal.

He said the US policy is to levy “maximum economic pressure” on the country.

The second batch of US sanctions against the Islamic Republic took effect on November 4.