Rouhani to Macron: Initial INSTEX steps positive but ‘not sufficient’

April 7, 2020 - 17:25

TEHRAN — President Hassan Rouhani has said initial steps to implement the trade mechanism with Europe, also known as INSTEX, are positive but not sufficient.

Rouhani made the remarks in a phone talk with French President Emmanuel Macron late on Monday.

He called on friendly countries to exert pressure on the U.S. to lifts its “cruel and one-sided” sanctions against Tehran amid Iran’s battle against the coronavirus.

Iran in comparison with other countries to battle the coronavirus when it is under the U.S. sanctions, said Rouhani. 

“The U.S. administration has not only violated international regulations by imposing illegal sanctions on Iran, but is also breaching health regulations ratified by the World Health Organization in 2005 through its measures under the current circumstances,” Rouhani stated.

Rouhani also called for an internationally coordinated fight against the new coronavirus.

"Without joint global cooperation and exchange of our experiences, we cannot master this critical phase," Rouhani said. 

Iran and France are among the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus. The outbreak has infected more than 62,000 people and killed over 3,800 in Iran.  France has also confirmed about 98,000 cases of coronavirus so far. Death toll in the country also stands about 8,900.

On April 6, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the United States to ease economic sanctions on Iran and expand the licensing of sanctions-exempt items to ensure the country has access to essential humanitarian resources during the pandemic.

Rouhani also expressed Iran’s readiness to return to full compliance with its commitments under the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), only if all sanctions against the country are lifted.

“The removal of sanctions and fulfillment of its commitments by Europe are a necessity, which has become more significant at the current specific situation,” the Iranian president pointed out.

The United States reinstated sanctions against Iran in May 2018 after leaving the UN-endorsed nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic and five other major powers – the UK, France, Russia, China plus Germany.

Since then, Washington has corded other countries to follow suit and mount pressure on Iran or face punishment.

For his part, Macron called on Iran to respect its nuclear obligations as the world focuses its attention on the coronavirus pandemic.

He hoped Iran will “turn to the respect of its nuclear obligations, refrain from taking new measures contrary to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and contribute to the easing of regional tensions,” a government statement said.

Macron and Rouhani agree to look at conditions for talks

According to the BBC, the French presidency published a statement (in French), saying that President Macron had spoken for more than an hour with his Iranian counterpart.

Macron said he was very concerned about the "risk of a further weakening" of the treaty and "the consequences that would necessarily follow".
The statement said the two leaders had agreed "to explore by 15 July the conditions for the resumption of dialogue between all parties".

The French statement also said Macron would continue consultations with the Iranian side and international partners to reduce tensions.

"Lifting all sanctions can be the beginning of a move between Iran and six major powers," Rouhani said.

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