TEHRAN – Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Wednesday the Islamic Republic did not expect Europe to rescue the nuclear deal reached in 2015 with the international community, adding that his country had no intention of making any further concessions.
In a press conference with foreign journalists, Zarif discussed the special-purpose vehicle known as the Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges that the European Union promised to create as a means of keeping Iran active in the 2015 nuclear deal following the decision made by the United States President Donald Trump in May to pull the US out of the accord and re-impose sanctions.
“The Europeans indicated certain political readiness but have not been able to invest the capital that is necessary for maintaining the nuclear deal,” Zarif said.
When many smaller EU member countries expressed reluctance to host INSTEX or participate directly as shareholders because of US sanctions threats, the bloc’s three biggest powers – France, the United Kingdom and Germany – in January stated that they would proceed anyway with the project.
Zarif denied that Europe had urged Tehran to stop its arms program and stop interfering in the Gulf region in exchange for improved relations between the European countries and the Middle Eastern nation.
In a nod to outside powers such as China and Russia, the Iranian minister said: “We have our own mechanism now with many countries in the neighborhood (the Middle East) and outside the neighborhood and will continue (these relations).”
Trump said Tehran’s decision to pursue its ballistic missile program was one of the driving forces behind his withdrawal from the 2015 international nuclear deal.
Zarif said his country was open to negotiations about its missile program.
Asked about the US decision to withdraw from the deal, Zarif said that the sanctions that had been imposed on Iran since the Trump decision last year had not pressed Iran into negotiations.
“We will decide about the nuclear deal based on our considerations, based on our national security considerations. We will not wait for Europe, we have not waited for Europe,” stressed the foreign minister.
The Iranian nuclear deal reached in 2015 between Iran and the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (the US, the UK, Russia, France, and China, with the addition of Germany) and the EU was a framework to lift sanctions and improve Iran’s economy and its diplomatic standing in the world.