World powers back Iran oil exports despite U.S. sanctions threat

David Peterlin

David Peterlin

In calls Thursday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said since the USA withdrawal "Iran has been dealing with economic issues and problems in banking relations and oil" and that foreign companies were "skeptical" about continuing their business, Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency reported. Rouhani called for a transparent operational program with a specific timetable to compensate for the United States' withdrawal from the agreement.

The Iranian president described as disappointing the bloc's package of economic measures.

Following a few years of diplomatic stability, US-Iran relations have deteriorated rapidly in recent months, with the war of words between the two nations reaching a zenith when Donald Trump announced in May that the US was withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, signed in 2015.

"What is important is that we know and we are certain that we want to stay in the deal and we believe that dialogue should continue in peace", she was quoted as saying.

"They must stop permanently threatening to break their commitments to the nuclear deal", Le Drian told RTL radio.

The signatories to the landmark accord met for the first time since Donald Trump, the USA president, withdrew in May to discuss how they could salvage the deal in the face of a reimposition of U.S. sanctions.

If Iran can not sell its oil due to USA pressure, then no other regional country will be allowed to do so either, Jafari was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

Hasn't Iran made this threat before?

The European Union has scrambled to find ways to counter the sanctions and ensure that Iran continues to enjoy the benefits of global sanctions relief under the deal, which was granted in 2016 in exchange for curbs on Iran's nuclear activities.

But Britain, France and Germany say they are determined to save the deal and its economic benefits for Iran.

Washington has warned other countries to end trade and investment in Iran and stop buying its oil by early November or face punitive measures. Further sanctions on oil and transactions with the central bank of Iran will come into effect November 6.

They also vowed to maintain financial channels, promote export credit cover and air, sea and overland transport links, and to work for the "the protection of companies from the extraterritorial effects of USA sanctions".

European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, from left, wait for the start of prior to a bilateral meeting as part of the closed-door nuclear talks with Iran at a hotel in Vienna, Austria, Friday, July 6, 2018.

In light of Washington's push on sanctions, European leaders have said they would do their utmost of maintain business ties with Iran but it would be hard for them to make any "guarantees".

The rial currency has fallen, prices have risen and the country has been hit by street protests and strikes.

"We advise businesses that want to keep investing (in Iran), we want to keep payment systems open, and we want to build security through widening the mandate of the European Investment Bank", he said.

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