“We are trying to find out why European leaders and the European Union only support us in rhetoric or only [use words] to express regret at America’s actions,” Larijani said during a meeting with Wolfgang Gerstl, the head of Austria-Iran parliamentary friendship group in Tehran on early Monday.
“Sure you might say there are problems because of US pressure and it might sound logical but we look at this from our own point of view and the most important thing for us is that this behavior has raised questions about EU’s credibility and it means that the EU lacks the weight to solve problems,” he asserted.
Larijani said Europe has yet to deliver on the promises it made to Tehran to save the 2015 nuclear deal in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon it last year.
“The European Union, too, has taken certain measures but we are yet to see any results,” Larijani said.
Following Trump’s announcement in May 2018, Washington moved to reinstate sanctions that had been removed under the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He also introduced new bans targeting Iran’s oil and other industries, warning Europeans against business with Iran.
Facing pressure from Tehran to save the deal, the EU took months before unveiling the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) in January 2019.
Designed by France, Germany and the UK — the three European signatories to the 2015 Iran deal – the measure sought to help European companies circumvent the US bans and continue trading with Iran.
In its initial stage, the transactions channel was intended to be used for selling food, medicine and medical devices to Iran, but efforts are underway by the trio to expand INSTEX to cover other areas of trade, including oil sales.
“The Europeans say the US is threatening the private sector,” Larijani said. “Back then, they also said that they would come up with a clear mechanism for trade and oil in a few weeks but it has already been a year.”
According to Larijani, they first said they would complete the transactions through France’s central bank but then mentioned the Special Payment Vehicle (SPV) and finally set up INSTEX which “has had no benefits for us overall.”
Europe has yet to react to Washington’s latest move.
‘Iran to get even with US on its own’
Larijani said Iran did not need Europe’s help in getting back at Washington.
“We will get even with America,” he pledged. “They should know that they cannot keep doing this and pressure Iran and expect us to keep silent.”
The EU “should not demand anything from us anymore because it hasn’t done anything for us,” he added.
“All in all, I think more serious developments are bound to happen and maybe it is better this way so that Trump comes back to his senses because some political leaders won’t start to understand unless they hit their heads hard against a stone,” he said.
Larijani also criticized Austria for stopping oil imports from Iran following the Trump administration’s recent announcement that it would drive down Iran’s crude exports to zero.
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Gerstl, for his part, admitted that the recent developments showed how deeply Europe was dependent on America in various fields.
However, he attempted to justify the EU’s conduct with regards to the nuclear deal and US sanctions by noting that the bloc “had no authority over governments specially on businesses.”
“We can only facilitate the framework for relations,” he said.
‘Iran will use all option to defend national security’
Also on Monday, Iranian First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri said during a trip to the southern Iranian island of Kish in the Persian Gulf that America’s sanctions were “inhuman” and amounted to economic terrorism.
“Unlike their claims that the sanctions are aimed at putting the Iranian government under pressure, these bans target the Iranian nation and cause major problems in their lives,” he said, pointing to difficulties the country is facing in importing medicines and medical equipment.
Reiterating Tehran’s commitment to defend its interests in the Persian Gulf, Jahangiri added: “Whenever a step is taken against Iran’s national interests, the country would do anything necessary to defend national security. That is our redline as it is with any other country.”