Iran’s deputy foreign minister for political affairs says recent seizure of a supertanker carrying Iranian oil off Gibraltar was a violation of the nuclear deal signed between Iran and the world powers in 2015, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Abbas Araqchi made the remarks while speaking to reporters in Vienna, where is attending another session of the JCPOA joint commission with the European parties to the deal.
“We have witnessed detention of a tanker carrying Iranian oil in Gibraltar, which in our opinion, is a violation of the JCPOA, because member states to the JCPOA should not create any obstacle on the way of Iran’s oil exports,” the Iranian top diplomat said.
Araqchi added, “During this period, there have been other development, which amounted to violation of the JCPOA and this is why we requested this meeting to be held.”
On Thursday, July 4, the British overseas territory Gibraltar said it had seized a supertanker on suspicion of carrying crude oil to Syria in violation of European Union (EU) sanctions against the Arab country.
Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said the territory’s police and customs agencies, aided by a detachment of British Royal Marines, had seized the Grace 1 vessel.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned Britain’s ambassador to the country the same day, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Moussavi saying, “We declared to the ambassador that this move amounts to strange unconventionality, because the sanctions that they have announced are not based on the Security Council [resolutions] and the Islamic Republic of Iran does not accept this measure (seizure of the tanker).”
Elsewhere in his remarks, Araqchi said many developments took place during the past month, which made holding an extraordinary meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission urgent.
“During the previous meeting of the Joint Commission we decided to hold a foreign ministerial meeting as well and this issue is still on the agenda and we hope to prepare a clear and tangible schedule for the ministerial meeting as soon as possible,” Araqchi said.
Before the meeting started in Vienna, Araqchi met and conferred with Helga Schmid, deputy to the European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, as well as representatives of China and Russia.
US President Donald Trump withdrew Washington in May 2018 from the multilateral nuclear accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was reached between Iran and six world powers in 2015.
Afterwards, Washington re-imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the deal.
On Friday, June 28, the remaining signatories to the nuclear agreement met in the Austrian capital as a last-ditch effort to save the accord after the US withdrew last year.
Following the meeting, Araqchi said progress was made in Vienna talks aimed at saving the JCPOA, but the demands of the Islamic Republic are yet to be met.
“It was a step forward, but it is still not enough and not meeting Iran’s expectations,” Abbas Araqchi told reporters on Friday after almost four hours of talks with senior diplomats from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.