The EU could resist the US-imposed sanctions by permitting European businesses not to comply with restrictive US measures against the Islamic Republic, introduced after Washington’s withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
The Iran deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was blasted in May by US President Donald Trump, who branded it “decaying and rotten” and “an embarrassment”.
Following his rebuke, President Trump announced his imminent withdrawal from the deal and shortly after reinstated sanctions on Tehran.
Going against the advice of his EU allies, President Trump reimposed economic sanctions that were waived when the nuclear deal was signed in 2015.
Speaking to Iran’s state-run news agency IRNA, Iran’s Vice President expressed his desire for EU nations to honour their commitments as part of the deal.
He said: “Even if they cannot, we are seeking solutions to sell our oil and transfer its revenues.”
The statement came as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif cautioned the EU against paying lip-service to maintain its oil and banking ties with Tehran after the imminent implementation of a second wave of punitive sanctions by Washington.
Brussels has agreed to tackle Washington’s sanctions by adhering to legislation allowing European businesses not to comply with the US measures against Iran.
But some leading EU businesses, such as French oil giant Total and carmaker Renault, have already suspended plans to invest in the Islamic Republic following the first wave of US sanctions imposed on August 7.
Speaking to CNN about the US sanctions, Iranian Foreign Minister Mr Zarif said: “I believe there is a disease in the United States and that is the addiction to sanctions.”
He added: “Even during the Obama administration the United States put more emphasis on keeping the sanctions it had not lifted rather than implementing its obligation on the sanctions it lifted.”
Washington plans to impose further sanctions on Iran, which will include punitive measures on Iranian oil and gas.
The new wave of measures is due to be implemented in November as part of President Trump’s proposals to withdraw from the JCPOA.
When he announced his plans to pull out in May, the US leader pledged to reinstate anti-Iranian sanctions, including those preventing other countries from conducting business with the Islamic Republic.
What is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action?
- The JCPOA was signed in 2015 by Iran, the European Union and the P5+1 group of countries — China, Germany, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the US.
- The deal stipulated the gradual lifting of the anti-Iran sanctions in exchange for Tehran maintaining the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.
- Under the agreement, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98 percent, and reduce by about two-thirds the number of its gas centrifuges for 13 years.
- For the following 15 years, under the deal, Iran will only enrich uranium up to 3.67 percent.
- Iran also promised to not construct any new heavy-water facilities for the same period of time.
- And uranium-enrichment activities would be limited to a single facility using first-generation centrifuges for 10 years.
- The agreement stipulates that in return for abiding by its commitments, Iran would receive relief from US, EU and UN-imposed nuclear-related sanctions.
- President Trump announced the US would exit the deal this May, and reinstated the previously lifted sanctions on Iran.
- The US leader faced strong opposition from other signatories, who remain committed to the accord.