HEADLINE Tehran awaits ‘strong and serious guarantees’ from Europe

HEADLINE

Tehran awaits ‘strong and serious guarantees’ from Europe

By Ding Xuezhen | People's Daily app

06:38, May 14, 2018

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Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in New York, Tuesday, April 24, 2018. (Photo: AP)

Islamabad (People’s Daily) - European guarantees have kept Tehran waiting and wondering just how it will receive foreign help to protect national interests even though the European Union (EU) has been making efforts to preserve the delicate agreement, acknowledging that its survival is a possibility without US involvement. 

On Tuesday, EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini sent an important message to Tehran after Trump’s announcement to withdraw the US from the nuclear deal.

“Stay true to your commitments, as we will stay true to ours,” Mogherini assured Iran the EU would stay in the deal as long as Iran continues to implement its nuclear-related commitments, adding the EU would ensure the lifting of nuclear related sanctions “continues to be delivered on.”

She noted the nuclear deal could not be terminated through unilateral action alone.

During phone conversations with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani insisted that the three European countries, namely Germany, France and UK, should make clear whether they will guarantee Iran’s interests, Tehran Times reported.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday began a hectic trip which has already been described as an attempt to salvage the nuclear deal by first flying to Beijing to meet with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, and then to Moscow to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

In 2015, Iran sighed the nuclear deal with six world powers including China, Russia, Britain, France, the US and Germany, agreeing to halt domestic efforts in developing a nuclear weapon in return for lifting economic and financial sanctions.

For Tehran, the other two signatories included in the deal, except for the three European countries play important roles with its fate after a US exit.

Zarif said he traveled to “see how these countries ensure that the interests of Iran will be guaranteed despite America’s pullout.”

Iran’s interests, as made clear by Rouhani, include the “sale of oil and gas” as well as “banking relations.”

Regardless of the Iranian top diplomat’s efforts, Tehran is working on a “Plan B” in case the deal holds virtually no effect.

Iran’s Assembly of Experts issued a statement on Sunday suggesting that the country pull out of the deal if it cannot receive “strong and serious guarantees” from Europe.

Rouhani has also warned the country will resume its nuclear program “with a normal speed” if its national interests are damaged.

On Monday, Zarif will fly to Brussels and hold discussions with his German, French and British counterparts about the future of the nuclear deal.

As the Iranian president has said previously, there is only a short period of time left to save the deal. 

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