Tehran has welcomed the European Union’s “positive positions” on the 2015 nuclear deal outlined in a 12-point statement, but remains critical of certain other points raised in the document, including those regarding Iran’s national defense program and regional role.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Tuesday in reaction to the one released by the Council of the European Union hours before, in which the 28-nation bloc has once again thrown its weight behind the multilateral nuclear agreement, known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The United States unilaterally withdrew from the deal last year.
The EU, in the statement released on Monday, defended the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) – officially called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchange (INSTEX) — which was launched last week in a bid to protect trade ties with Tehran against American sanctions.
The mechanism was registered by France, Germany and the UK in Paris, and will, in its initial stage, facilitate the trading of humanitarian goods such as food, medicine and medical devices.
However, in parallel with the JCPOA-related issues, the European Union repeated a set of accusations against Iran and raised “concerns” about the country’s conventional missile program as well as its role in the region.
The Foreign Ministry said Iran welcomes the registration of the INSTEX non-dollar trade system, although its launch is “overdue and insufficient.”
“Undoubtedly, it is naturally and realistically expected that the mechanism — a long overdue and insufficient step from the European side – will become operational faster and with more accuracy, and will cover other areas of trade between Iran and the European countries as stated in a joint statement in May by foreign ministers of Iran and the EU,” read the statement.
In a blow to US sanctions against Iran, the European parties to the 2015 nuclear deal unveil a direct payment channel with Tehran meant to protect bilateral trade ties.
Iran, however, described as “unacceptable” the EU’s linking of the implementation of INSTEX — an inherent commitment under the JCPOA — to the adoption by Tehran of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
In its statement, the EU has expressed its resolute commitment to the JCPOA, hailed the accord’s continued implementation on the part of Iran and deeply regretted Washington’s re-imposition of sanctions against Tehran after abandoning the nuclear deal in May 2018.
The EU has further emphasized its support for the development of bilateral ties with Iran, praising France, Germany and the United Kingdom for their efforts to operationalize the SPV, with a view to “providing a positive impact on trade and economic relations with Iran, but most importantly on the lives of Iranian people.”
The European Council, however, has urged Iran to adopt and implement the necessary legislation pursuant to its commitments under the FATF Action Plan.
Iran says European countries should not link a payment mechanism they have announced for trade with the Islamic Republic to the country’s joining the Financial Action Task Force.
Claim of plots in Europe
Elsewhere in its statement, Iran’s Foreign Ministry rejected the EU’s “empty and groundless” accusations about Tehran’s alleged “hostile” activities on the European continent.
The European Council has expressed concerns over what it called Iran’s “unacceptable behavior” in Europe, which led to the blacklisting of two individuals and one entity in connection with the claims.
Tehran said the EU’s allegations come at a time when globally notorious “criminal” terror groups have been acting freely in European states.
Iran condemns a decision by the European Union to put two Iranian individuals and a department of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry on its “terror” list.
Iran, as one of the major victims of terrorist attacks, has been a front-runner in the fight against terror groups such as Daesh, which pose security threats to Europe, the statement added.
It further criticized Europe’s allegations as “unconstructive,” urging Brussels to abandon its “double-standard” policies.
Iran’s defense program
The Foreign Ministry further reiterated that Iran’s military activities solely serve defense and deterrence purposes, emphasizing that the “domestic affair” will never be up for discussion with any party.
The Islamic Republic, it added, firmly believes that raising such topics under the current circumstances in the region wherein Iran is facing clear security threats, is not in the interests of Europe and does not benefit regional security either.
A senior Iranian commander says the country will continue to test and develop missiles in line with its deterrence policy.
The European Council has expressed alarm at Iran’s ballistic missile launches, claiming that they are “inconsistent” with UN Security Council resolution 2231, which was adopted in July 2015 to endorse the JCPOA.
Meanwhile, Iran has advised the European countries to adopt a “realistic” approach to developments unfolding in the region, rather than being influenced by “certain anti-peace currents and elements.” It also stressed support for dialog, interaction and political methods aimed at resolving regional crises.
The Council said it was concerned over “the growing tensions in the region and Iran’s role in this context, including the provision of military, financial and political support to non-state actors in countries such as Syria and Lebanon.” It added that it had “serious concerns” regarding Iran’s “military involvement” in Syria.
Regarding Yemen, the European Union called on “all parties in the region, including Iran, to support the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2451 and to constructively work towards a lasting political solution to the conflict under UN leadership.”
The Foreign Ministry also condemned “any instrumental and political use of the human rights issue against independent states.”
It said Iran’s activities over the past four decades demonstrate its seriousness in promoting human rights and honoring international commitments through constructive cooperation and dialog-based methods.
Iran further drew the EU’s attention to the main crises gripping the region, including the Israeli regime’s infanticide as well as the crimes the Saudi regime and its allies are committing in Yemen with the arms they receive from Western states, including certain EU members.
The European Council has in its statement expressed worries about the human rights situation in Iran.