Alwaght – President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday Iran and Europe are unlikely to reach an agreement on ways to save a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal, and that Tehran will go ahead with its plan to announce the third step in scaling back its commitments under the accord, Press TV reported. “It is unlikely that we will reach a final agreement with Europe today or tomorrow; therefore, we will take the third step. We will release the details of the third step today and tomorrow and act accordingly,” Rouhani told a cabinet meeting.
The president described the third phase of Iran’s commitment reductions as “highly important in nature,” emphasizing that this would the “most significant step that we take” and would “have extraordinary effects.” This phase, Rouhani added, will accelerate the activities of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).
Commenting on a European diplomatic process led by France aimed at saving the Iran deal, Rouhani said “a significant part of differences” between Tehran and Europe have been resolved, but “we have yet to reach a final agreement.”
Rouhani said the European parties to the 2015 Iran deal — France, Britain and Germany — will have two more months to fulfill their contractual obligation to protect Iran against the American sanctions, which returned in place after Washington abandoned the agreement, officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Rouhani said “we will hold talks [with Europe] while taking this third step and if we reach a deal, there will still be a way to negotiations, logic and agreement,” the president said. Iran says it will return into full compliance with the JCPOA only if it receives $15 billion in France-proposed credit lines for oil sales over four months otherwise the Islamic Republic will continue cutting its deal commitments.
France has been making a last-ditch effort to convince the US to agree on the credit line that guarantees Iran’s oil exports. Paris has said efforts to save the Iran deal hinges on Washington issuing waivers from the sanctions it has re-imposed on Tehran after leaving the nuclear deal. However, sources told Press TV on Wednesday that France has so far failed to get America’s go-ahead to open the credit line for Iran.
Earlier on Tuesday, Iranian foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described as “regrettable” Europe’s call for the US’s approval for its measures to save the Iran nuclear deal.
Iran and six world states — the US, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany — clinched the JCPOA in 2015, under which nuclear-related sanctions against Iran were lifted in return for certain limits on Tehran’s nuclear activities. The US, however, threw the survival of the landmark agreement into doubt by pulling out of it last May and re-imposing its unilateral bans on Tehran.
The remaining parties to the deal initially vowed efforts to keep the deal alive by protecting Iran against the American sanctions, but the European co-signatories failed to abide by their side of the agreement. In response, Tehran began in May to reduce its commitments under the deal as a countermeasure against Washington’s exit from the deal and Europe’s failure to take action against the US.
Iran has already taken two steps in suspending its commitments the aim of prompting Europe to stand up to Washington’s pressure and act on its contractual promises. Elsewhere in his comments, Rouhani blamed hawks inside the US administration, Israel and certain reactionary leaders for rising Tehran-Washington tensions, saying the three groups do not favor “fair and correct” ties between the two sides.
“Whenever we want to move forward, they disrupt [the process] at some point,” he added. Rouhani praised Iran’s prudence and strategic patience against US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, which he said took place “without any reason.”