EU moves to use euro in dealings with Iran

Salehi: Iran to resume 20% enrichment if EU fails to save JCPOA

May 19, 2018

TEHRAN - Ali Akbar Salehi, director of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, announced on Saturday that the European Union has made proposals and also taken initial steps to use euro in transactions with Iran.

During a joint press conference in Tehran with Miguel Arias Canete, the European commissioner for energy and climate, Salehi also expressed hope that the EU’s efforts in salvaging the 2015 nuclear deal after the U.S. withdrawal from the multilateral agreement would be materialized.

On May 8, Trump withdrew the U.S. from the UN-endorsed nuclear agreement and vowed to reimpose sanctions on Iran, a move which Salehi described as “unwise”.

Salehi said it would be disastrous if EU efforts fail to preserve the deal. “The ball is in their (EU leaders) court,” Salehi said. “We hope their efforts materialize.”

Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief, issued a statement on Friday saying that the 28-nation bloc is united in preserving the international nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

Energy commissioner Canete says EU firm to keep nuclear deal alive without U.S.

Salehi said, “The European Union’s efforts show that the JCPOA is a very important international agreement which is in line with our national interests and also the international community’s interests. Withdrawal of one country may cause some difficulties but it is not in a way that it causes a serious impediment for us.”

The atomic chief also said Iran had several options, including resuming its 20 percent uranium enrichment if the European countries failed to keep the pact alive.

Under the deal, Iran’s level of enrichment must remain at around 3.6 percent. Iran stopped producing 20 percent enriched uranium and gave up the majority of its stockpile as part of the agreement.

In exchange for such limitations, all nuclear related economic and financial sanctions on Iran had to be removed; however big companies failed to enter serious transactions with Iran, fearing a punishment by the U.S.
 
“Unfortunately because of the negative interferences of the U.S., we were not able to reap the fruits of the JCPOA we expected,” Salehi said.

“Public opinion is not as supportive as it was before and if the other side does not deliver... we will keep losing the support of our people for the JCPOA.”

‘EU has only few weeks to deliver on promises’

Salehi said the EU had only a few weeks to deliver on their promises.

“If the other side keeps itself committed to its promises we also will be keeping ourselves to our promises... We hope the situation will not arise to the point that we will have to go back to the worst option,” he told reporters in English.

The EU energy chief says, “We will try to intensify our flows of trade that have been very positive for the Iranian economy.”

For his part, Canete tried to reassure Iran that the EU remained committed to salvaging the nuclear deal after the U.S. pullout.

“We have sent a message to our Iranian friends that as long as they are sticking to the (nuclear) agreement the Europeans will... fulfill their commitment. And they said the same thing on the other side,” Reuters quoted Canete as saying.

“We will try to intensify our flows of trade that have been very positive for the Iranian economy.”

NA/PA

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