Speaking during a telephone conversation with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday, Rouhani stressed that Europe should not be swayed by the US, reiterating Tehran’s opposition to Washington’s attempts to act against UN Security Council resolutions.
“According to UN Security Council Resolution 2231, the arms embargo on Iran must be lifted as of October 18, and if the United States seeks to act against it, it is a violation of the resolution,” the Iranian chief executive said.
Rouhani said that maintaining the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and sticking to UNSCR 2231, which endorses the JCPOA, constitute obvious commitments of all countries that remain in the Iran agreement.
He added that Tehran expects close consultations and cooperation between Iran and the three European parties to the JCPOA as well as Russia and China, the other two signatories to the accord, in different forums, including in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the IAEA Board of Governors, as well as the UN Security Council, to prevent the opponents of the JCPOA from achieving their goals.
Commenting on US bids to invoke a sanctions snapback mechanism enshrined in the JCPOA, Rouhani said the United States has no right to use the mechanism, given that it left the agreement more than two years ago.
He said the US policy to impose illegal and inhumane sanctions against Iran amid the coronavirus pandemic is “abhorrent” and in contradiction with international regulations and the 2005 enactments by the World Health Organization, and stressed the need for European action in activating economic relations with Iran and cooperating in the fight against COVID-19.
The US has stepped up attempts aimed at extending the UN arms ban on Iran that is set to expire on October 18 as part of the JCPOA.
The administration of US President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to trigger the so-called snapback provisions of the 2015 nuclear deal if it cannot secure an arms embargo extension.
Since leaving the JCPOA, the US has been resorting to its maximum pressure campaign against Iran by reinstating its sanctions and persuading others to follow its suit.
Rouhani stresses unity in Lebanon
Also in his remarks, Rouhani pointed to the current situation in Lebanon following last week’s massive explosion in Beirut and underlined the need for unity in the Arab country.
“It is very important that we all help the Lebanese judiciary to find those mainly responsible for this incident,” he added.
“Lebanon needs further unity among political groups and we must all help create such unity. Lebanon needs a strong government, and the Lebanese parliament and all parties must work together to that end,” he stressed.
Rouhani also welcomed the French president’s invitation for Iran to join the international group to help resolve Lebanon’s problems.
Macron, for his part, underlined the need for keeping the JCPOA in place and said, “Our views with the United States on the extension of the arms embargo on Iran are quite different, and we have made this clear to them.”
On Iran-Europe economic ties, the French president said, “We are taking steps to make the European financial system with Iran more active.”
He also called on Iran to help resolve the Lebanese political crisis and invited Iran to join an international action group on Lebanon.
A powerful explosion on August 4 shook the Lebanese capital and its environs after 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse at the port caught fire.
The shockwave razed nearby buildings and caused extensive damage in Beirut, killing at least 171 people, wounding some 6,000 others and leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless. Dozens of people are still missing.
The explosion took place at a time when the Arab country is dealing with a severe financial crisis, along with the coronavirus pandemic.