Future of the Deal II: Intense Diplomacy

May 14, 2018
Updated

Since the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal, the United States and Iran have engaged in rival diplomacy. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with his British, French and German counterparts during the course of several days. “The Secretary underlined that the United States and our European allies share strong interests in preventing Iran from ever developing a nuclear weapon and in countering the Iranian regime’s destabilizing activities in the region. The Secretary highlighted the good work that we have done over the past several months to address our common threats and said that he is hopeful we can continue strong cooperation moving forward,” according to a State Department readout.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on May 10 and British Prime Minister Theresa May on May 13. He has said that Iran would be willing to remain in the deal if its economic interests could be guaranteed by the remaining parties to the accord – Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia. On May 13, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif set out for Beijing, Moscow and Brussels for talks. The following is a rundown of Iran’s campaign to keep the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) alive and to explore it if it will continue to reap its benefits.

 

 

GERMANY

German flagOn May 11, President Hassan Rouhani spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the JCPOA and the preservation of Iran's interests. Three days later, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke with his German counterpart Heiko Maas over the phone about salvaging the nuclear deal in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal. 
 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani 

Rouhani and Merkel

 “Iran’s interests in important issues related to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) such as selling oil, gas and petrochemicals, as well as banking relations must be clearly and explicitly determined and guaranteed." “These issues, which can help to keep JCPOA, must be finalised in a few weeks in the meeting of foreign ministers of Iran and European countries.”

 “We welcome further development of relations between the two countries.”

“The United States’ unilateral withdrawal from the deal was a crude, unconventional act against the international laws.”

“If an agreement that is approved by the Security Council of the United Nations by a resolution is violated this way, its international consequences will be harmful.”

“With its security and stability-building approach, Iran has always tried to reduce tensions in the region and by no means favours new tensions in the region.”

May 11, 2018, in a phone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel 


German Chancellor Angela Merkel

“The United States’ withdrawal from the JCPOA is something that has happened but we should deal with it logically and the European Union will stay committed to it and invites Iran to do the same.”

"Keeping the JCPOA is very important for Europe." 

May 11, 2018, in a phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani 


Iranian Foreign Ministry

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his German counterpart Heiko Maas held a phone conversation on the Iran nuclear deal and its fate following the US pullout of the 2015treaty.

During the Monday conversation, the two sides conferred on plans by the Germany as well as the EU to preserve the nuclear accord after the US’ withdrawal.

Zarif, who is on an official visit to Moscow, stressed that the Islamic Republic of Iran is giving a second chance to diplomacy in a short span of time to safeguard the benefits of the JCPOA for the Iranian nation.

For his part, the German foreign minister confirmed that there is a time limit to save the Iran nuclear deal and said his government is developing plans at the national and EU levels to preserve the JCPOA and guarantee Iran’s interests in the deal by exploring various options available.

May 14, 2018, in an announcement

 

 

EUROPEAN UNION 

EU flagOn May 11, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif discussed the Iran nuclear deal with EU High Representative Federica Mogherini. Zarif then travelled to Brussels to meet with High Representative Mogherini and Britain, France and Germany about securing Iranian interests and preserving the JCPOA. 


Iranian Foreign Ministry

In a phone conversation with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini discussed the need for continued implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, which is also known as JCPOA.

Zarif, for his part, highlighted the need for other parties to the JCPOA to provide sufficient guarantees that assure the Iranian nation of being able to reap the benefits of the nuclear deal.

During the Friday talks, the two diplomats also conferred on plans and arrangements for a Tuesday meeting in Brussels between Zarif, Mogherini, and the E3 foreign ministers.

May 11, 2018, in an announcement 

 

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

 

"Guarantees of benefits of the JCPOA should be given to Iran. We will have to see whether (those) remaining in the JCPOA can deliver those benefits to Iran." 

May 15, 2018, upon arrival in Brussels, according to Reuters
 

“Our meeting with Mrs Mogherini was good and constructive ... We are on the right path to move forward ... Whatever decided should preserve and guarantee Iran’s rights ... Our talks (with the E3) will continue in the next two weeks." 

May 15, 2018, to reporters in Brussels, according to Reuters
 

"We share the common view that the nuclear deal is emphatically needed to be implemented by all the remaining parties and Iran should enjoy the merits of the nuclear deal and receive ensurances int his regard." 

"We ought to rest assured that no country will manage to benefit from its illegal withdrawal, and that only other members who have remained loyal to the deal can have its dividends." 

May 15, 2018, to reporters in Brussels, according to Fars News Agency 


"If the JCPOA is supposed to continue, it was a good start and it has sent an important political message, but this is not the end of the work." 

"Form next week, intensive expert meetings will start in Europe. They must do the work, but they will consult us so that we are sure the actions they take are sufficient from our point of view." 

"They said that they would ensure Iran enjoys the benefits of the JCPOA and they accepted that the implementation of the JCPOA has nothing to do with other issues." 

"We are not fantisizing that Europe will break its relations with America... but we want Europeans to defend their own interests." 

"America is not in charge of everything in the world. Of course, Americans would like the whole world to think this way and when the world doesn't think this way, they take some angry actions such as sanctioning the head of the central bank without any reason." 

"We must expect more such moves by the Americans. These moves are against the law, contrary to conventional international relations and indicate their weakness." 

May 16, 2018, to reporters on his flight back to Tehran, according to AFP 

 

Iranian Foreign Ministry

The foreign ministers of Iran and the E3 (France, Germany, and the UK) as well as the EU foreign policy chief have issued a statement on the result of their talks in Brussels regarding the Iran nuclear deal.

Following the US announcement of its withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Iran nuclear deal, EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini held talks with the Foreign Ministers of France (Jean-Yves Le Drian), Germany (Heiko Maas), the United Kingdom (Boris Johnson) and of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Mohammad Javad Zarif) on Tuesday, May 15, 2018.

According to the press release, the top diplomats attending the meeting:

Recalled their commitment to the continued, full and effective implementation of the Iran nuclear deal that was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council Resolution 2231, as a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture and a significant diplomatic achievement;

Regretted the withdrawal of the United States from the Iran nuclear deal and recognised that the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions and the normalisation of trade and economic relations with Iran constitute essential parts of the agreement;

Stressed the commitment they all share to ensure that this will continue to be delivered and they agreed to this end to deepen their dialogue at all levels.

They also undertook, in particular, to launch intensive expert discussions with Iran, addressing the following issues with a view to arriving at practical solutions in the next few weeks:

Maintaining and deepening economic relations with Iran;

The continued sale of Irans oil and gas condensate petroleum products and petrochemicals and related transfers;

Effective banking transactions with Iran;

Continued sea, land, air and rail transportation relations with Iran;

The further provision of export credit and development of special purpose vehicles in financial banking, insurance and trade areas, with the aim of facilitating economic and financial cooperation, including by offering practical support for trade and investment;

The further development and implementation of Memoranda of Understanding and contracts between European companies and Iranian counterparts;

Further investments in Iran;

The protection of European Union economic operators and ensuring legal certainty:

And last but not least, the further development of a transparent, rules-based business environment.

They finally reaffirmed their resolve to continue to implement the nuclear deal in all its parts, in good faith, and in a constructive atmosphere, and agreed to continue to consult intensively at all levels and also with other parties to the JCPOA.

May 16, 2018, in an announcement 

 

EU High Representative and Vice President Federica Mogherini 

I have decided to convene this meeting here in Brussels today, first of all with the three ministers of the three countries of the European Union that have been negotiating this agreement - Germany, France and the United Kingdom - to look at the specific measures we can take to protect European investments, to protect the European strategic security interest, which is that of preserving this Iranian nuclear deal. And we will work together, the E3 [France, Germany and the United Kingdom], together with me, and then tomorrow with the 28 Heads of State or Government in Sofia, on the ways in which the European Union can preserve the deal, preserve its economic investments, most of all preserve its security interests, which is avoiding that Iran can develop a nuclear weapon, which means for us preserving the deal that is working and delivering.

Then the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, will join us for the second part of the meeting. We will discuss with him both these issues: the strong commitment to preserve the deal, which implies that Iran is also reconfirming its commitment to the full implementation of its own commitments to the deal. This is the agreement: we stay, you stay; you stay, we stay. And we also will share some ideas on the concrete steps to proceed in the coming days and weeks.

So I will meet you [press and media] at the end of the two meetings and I'll tell you more about the outcome.

Q: What guarantees are the Iranians looking for from the EU?

We [Foreign Minister Zarif and High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, in their bilateral meeting earlier today] didn't discuss guarantees. We discussed the concrete steps that we can take, the efforts we can make in a difficult environment - both for Iran, for the European Union, for the Member States, but also for others – Russia, China, other players in the international community that do have relations, including economic and trade relations with Iran - on the steps that we can take together in a coordinated manner to save this agreement. This would require, as I said, efforts on all sides in circumstances that are not the one we would have wished to see, but that is the reality of facts we have to deal with. So we are not naive. We know it will be difficult on all sides. But we believe that we are together in an effort to preserve security on the non-proliferation agreement we have signed. And I am reassured, first and foremost, by the unity of the international community in this respect. So again, I wouldn't talk about guarantees; I'm talking about and we're discussing about steps we can take, measures we can put in place to ensure that we can have a coordinated effort to continue the full implementation of the agreement. And obviously, among the different provisions of the agreement, there are also the economic benefits for the Iranian people that are coming out of the conclusion of the agreement.
 
Q: What can you do to protect European companies against US sanctions?

I will tell you more later after our exchanges with the ministers. We have been working on different tracks. By the way, not only will I brief the Heads of State or Government of the 28 EU Member States tomorrow night in Sofia on this, but also tomorrow morning in the [weekly] college meeting of the [European] Commission, we'll work on some elements that could be usefully put in place at the European Union level.
 
Q: Do you get the impression that Iran, Mr Zarif, is prepared to talk about other issues such as the ballistic missile programme?
 
Tonight we talk about the Iran nuclear deal. Tonight we talk about how to preserve an achievement we have built together and that we have a common interest to preserve. We have, as you know very well, other issues of discussion, of disagreement, in certain cases with Iran. They are not a mystery. They are not hidden. We discuss them very often. In particular, we have as the European Union a Political Dialogue with Iran where we tackle all these issues without any reservation and without any taboos. But tonight, the purpose of the meeting is to put in place steps and convene among ourselves on how to preserve the nuclear agreement. This is the issue for tonight. All the other things can be, will be and are discussed, but in a different set-up. 

May 15, 2018, in remarks ahead of ministerial meetings of EU/E3 and EU/E3 with Iran

 

I just met with the Foreign Ministers of France (Jean-Yves Le Drian), Germany (Heiko Maas), the United Kingdom (Boris Johnson) and of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Mohammad Javad Zarif) this afternoon and this evening, in two separate meetings, to discuss our common lines and the work ahead of us, following the announcement made by the United States of its withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Iran nuclear deal. 

We recalled our commitment to the continued, full and effective implementation of the Iran nuclear deal that was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council Resolution 2231, as a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture and a significant diplomatic achievement. 

We, together, regretted the withdrawal of the United States from the Iran nuclear deal and we recognised that the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions and the normalisation of trade and economic relations with Iran constitute essential parts of the agreement.

We stressed the commitment we all share to ensure that this will continue to be delivered and we agreed to this end to deepen our dialogue at all levels. 

By the way, our experts were working together already today for many hours.

We undertook, in particular, to launch intensive expert discussions - that, as I said, have already started today - with Iran, addressing the following issues with a view to arriving at practical solutions in the next few weeks:

Maintaining and deepening economic relations with Iran;

The continued sale of Iran's oil and gas condensate petroleum products and petrochemicals and related transfers;

Effective banking transactions with Iran;

Continued sea, land, air and rail transportation relations with Iran;

The further provision of export credit and development of special purpose vehicles in financial banking, insurance and trade areas, with the aim of facilitating economic and financial cooperation, including by offering practical support for trade and investment;

The further development and implementation of Memoranda of Understanding and contracts between European companies and Iranian counterparts;

Further investments in Iran;

The protection of European Union economic operators and ensuring legal certainty:

And last but not least, the further development of a transparent, rules-based business environment in Iran.

We reaffirmed together our resolve to continue to implement the nuclear deal in all its parts, in good faith, and in a constructive atmosphere, and we agreed to continue to consult intensively at all levels and also with other remaining participants of the Joint Commission to the JCPOA.

We will also hold a Joint Commission meeting in Vienna next week at the level of Deputy Foreign Ministers or Political Directors - which is the usual level at which the Joint Commission meets - and obviously in the coming days we will continue to work along these lines following the good exchanges we had today, during the day and during the evening.

All in all it was a positive meeting. It allowed us to agree on a common set of lines of action and measures to put in place on which we will, as I said, start working as of tomorrow - some of the work has already started.

I will brief the [weekly meeting of the] College of the [European] Commission tomorrow morning on this. In particular, we will discuss some of the aspects of these measures that refer to work done at the level of the European Commission.

We also decided that EU Member States - starting with the E3 but also other Member States - will work on complementary mechanisms and measures, not only so as to go at the European Union level but also at national level to, in particular, protect the economic operators of the EU Member States. And I will have the opportunity to also brief the Heads of State or Government of the 28 EU Member States tomorrow evening at the leaders' dinner that we will have in Sofia. The E3 leaders will also be present and we will have, I believe, at that moment a first exchange also with the other 25 Member States. 

Let me stress that the implementation of the JCPOA is also on the agenda of our next Foreign Affairs Council in some 10 days from now [on 28 May 2018]. So the Foreign Ministers of all the 28 Member States will have - at the latest at that stage - the possibility of working together on common work along these and similar lines.

 

Q: You listed a number of measures. What are they? Are they promises? Pledges? Things that we will do or things that both sides are aspiring or have set as objectives to do? And is there any guarantee that you can offer that you can even maintain the same level of trade as Europe currently has with Iran in the coming months and years? 
 
That is the aim we have. The list of issues I have mentioned are the issues we have decided to address with the aim at arriving at practical solutions. So this is not a set of measures, this is a quite wide and broad set of issues that we see a need to address and on which we have decided to start working - actually the work has started today already - working together in a closely coordinated manner, including, I want to stress, with other Member States, to arrive at practical solutions within the next few weeks. So it is issues that we see the need to address and on which we will work together to find practical solutions in a short amount time.

The practical solutions we would be working on - and we are working on - are obviously of a different nature depending on the different issues we are talking about. I am sure that as the days go by you [press and media] will have technical debriefs on the substance of the different strands of work. But again, already now we have a quite clear list of issues to address.
 
The issue of what we can ensure or guarantee is something I want to address very clearly. We are operating in a very difficult context and this is something the European people know, the Iranian people know, the leaderships know. It is a difficult environment after exactly this time last week we heard President [of the United States, Donald] Trump's announcement.

Having said that, we are determined to ensure that the JCPOA stays in place. We know it is a difficult task, but we are determined to do that and we have started to work to put in place measures that help to ensure that this happens. This is true on the European side and we have seen the same willingness and determination on the Iranian side. 

So I probably cannot talk about legal or economic guarantees, but I can talk about serious, determined, and committed work from the European side - also from the Iranian side - to keep our commitments. And normally when we work together - committed, determined, with good faith and good will, even in difficult circumstances - we get to some achievements.

Q: Do you think that you will be able to reach a conclusion within the remaining time? Do you think that it is possible to have an extension of this time? What will be the outcome of these negotiations - will it be a statement or a written text? Will there be provisions added as an attachment to the deal? 

We are we working on finding practical solutions. The agreement is complex enough, long enough, detailed enough. It does not need to be changed, modified or have any addition. Everything is already written there.

We simply committed to fully comply with all the commitments taken there, which means for the Iranian side the nuclear-related commitments, and from our side and from the side of the rest of the international community, in particular the commitments related to the economic benefits the Iranian people need to see as an outcome of their own implementation of the Iran deal. 

So, we are not talking about annexes or modifications of the agreement at all; we are talking about setting up concrete measures, concrete practical solutions to address these issues, which could take different forms depending on the different issues covered - but something very concrete, very practical and hopefully very operational and very quickly. 

About the timing, as I said, we have already started the work, actually even before today. Today the experts exchanged for many hours in a very productive manner and we will continue this work both at the Commission level with the Member States, starting tomorrow evening to share the state of play with all the 28 Member States' Heads of State or Government. Capitals in the European Union will obviously look at how to complement European mechanisms or solutions we could find. The speed of the process is and has to be fast. I cannot tell you two days, two weeks or more, but we talked about the need to do this exercise in the next few weeks. 

Q. Did the Iranian side give you a timeframe that it considers to be a minimum to find solutions and did it indicate what would happen if the solutions you talked about are not found in time? Is the blocking statute on the agenda from the EU's perspective?

On the blocking statute, I would expect to discuss this already tomorrow in the [weekly meeting of the] College [of the European Commission].

On the issue of the timing, there was no unpleasant negotiating style exercise among us. We all share the same objective related to the full implementation of the JCPOA. 

We have many other disagreements on many other fields, but tonight the focus was on the JCPOA implementation. So, in this respect, it was a very constructive, positive meeting, indicating on all sides the awareness of the urgency of finding solutions, not for the sake of a calendar, but because if we want to save this deal - which is not an easy exercise - we know that the sooner we manage to do it, the better and the easier it will be. 

Again, it will not be easy, but if I can use the metaphor that some raised around the table, we all have a relative in intensive care and we all want to get him or her out of intensive care as soon as possible.

Q. In case these steps that you’ve discussed are successful, would you imagine that this will open further negotiations with Iran on the conflict issues like ballistic missiles, the future of the nuclear deal and Iran's intervention in Middle East conflicts. 

One thing that is very clear to all of us Europeans is that with the nuclear deal in place we have a better chance to address any other issue we have to address with Iran, be it missiles, be it regional issues. 

We are very clear on the fact that there is no connection between the two; the nuclear deal was reached and is working exactly because it is nuclear-related - that was a decision taken fifteen or sixteen years ago, and we stay true to our commitments that are in this context, nuclear-related.

Obviously, this doesn't exclude all the other issues we discussed with Iran and that we need to address with Iran in a separate manner. We have always been clear on this: that there are more chances, more possibilities to open avenues for discussions with Iran on other issues, if the Iran nuclear deal stays in place rather than not.

We will see what will happen in the future. You know that for us Europeans it is very important to address also other issues. Tonight, the main goal is to save the Iran deal and to preserve all its provisions. 
We believe that without that in place, it would be very difficult to have any basis for talking or negotiating anything else. On the contrary, that could be a good basis for the future, but the future is the future. 

May 15, 2018, at a press conference following ministerial meetings of EU/E3 and EU/E3 and Iran

 

EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Maja Kocijancic 

 

 

BRITAIN

UK flagOn May 13, President Hassan Rouhani spoke with British Prime Minister Theresa May about the future of the Iran nuclear deal. 


Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

“The Islamic Republic of Iran seeks ways to secure its national interests by staying committed to the JCPOA, but unfortunately, the other sides have not had a good performance in living up to their commitments.”

“Iran’s interests in important issues related to the JCPOA such as selling oil, gas and petrochemicals, as well as banking relations and investment must be clearly determined and secured.”

“In the JCPOA, the two parties have obligations and it is not acceptable that only one party lives up to its commitments.” 

“All countries must help to guarantee security in this region.”

May 13, 2018, in a phone conversation with British Prime Minister Theresa May

 

British Prime Minister Theresa May

“The ultimate goal of the European Union is to protect the JCPOA and we will do our best to cooperate with our European partners to save it and secure Iran’s interests." 

“In this meeting, European countries have prepared a set of suggestions to save the JCPOA." 

“Therefore, it is very important that all parties to the deal try to save it.”

May 13, 2018, in a phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani 

 

 

CHINA

Chinese flagOn May 13, Zarif arrived in China and held talks with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss the possibility of preserving the nuclear deal without the United States.


Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Javad Zarif“Iran-China relations were very good before the JCPOA and these good relations continued after the signing of the nuclear deal as China is the best trade partner of the Islamic Republic of Iran with a wide margin with the second in the list. Even today we are sure that the Chinese are still beside us.”

“Iran and China have strategic joint partnership and these relations will still go on.”

“I have travelled to China in a bid to meet with the remaining members of the JCPOA because China has always been a friend of rainy days.”

May 13, 2018, according to Mehr News Agency
 

“The European Union has made the most demands on Iran after US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, urging us to stay committed to the international agreement.”

“European countries must guarantee that despite the US pullout from the JCPOA, the interests of the Iranian nation will be preserved.”

“China is one of the closest allies of Iran, and today I will talk [with Chinese officials] about our decision to whether continue implementing the JCPOA and the kind of guarantees that the other sides to the deal will give us that our interests will not be violated.”

May 13, 2018, to reporters upon his arrival at Beijing International Airport, according to Mehr News Agency
 

"We hope that with this visit to China and other countries we will be able to construct a clear future design for the comprehensive agreement.”

"If the nuclear deal is to continue, the interests of the people of Iran must be assured."

May 13, 2018, to reporters in Beijing, according to BBC News
 

“Now we want to make sure that the Iranian nation can reap the benefits of the deal if it decides to remain in the accord as recommended by the remaining sides of the JCPOA."

May 13, 2018, according to Iran Front Page News

 

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi

“China will take an objective, fair and responsible attitude, keep communication and cooperation with all parties concerned, and continue to work to maintain the deal.”

May 13, 2018, according to Xinhua Net
 

“I hope and believe that these visits to multiple countries will … help protect Iran’s legitimate national interests and peace and stability in the region.”

May 13, 2018, after meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif, according to RadioFreeEurope RadioLiberty


"Our economic relations with Iran are in progress and the two sides have made long strides in other political, security and many other areas." 

“There are many states which are unhappy with Trump’s decision to exit the Iran nuclear deal and never support his move. China calls for multilateralism in the international relations and the JCPOA is one of the fruits of such approach." 

“It is natural for Iran to remain in the deal without the US if its interests are guaranteed.”

May 13, 2018, according to Iran Front Page News

 

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang

“China is a contracting party to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and follows closely the developments of the Iranian nuclear issue.”

“We are willing to maintain communication with Iran and other relevant parties.”

May 13, 2018, according to Mehr News Agency

 

 

RUSSIA

Russian flagOn May 14, Zarif arrived in Moscow to hold talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss the future of the JCPOA and securing Iranian interests stipulated in the agreement.

 


Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

“The final aim of these negotiations is to seek assurances that the interests of the Iranian nation will be defended.”

May 13, 2018, at a press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, according to The National
 

"Russia's position is encouraging for us. I hope that today I will be able to hold consultations with you on the ways of cooperation in the 4+1 format.”

"Unfortunately, the protest against international rules and laws has become a habitual practice for the US government. … The JCPOA corresponds to the balance of commitments between the Iranian side and Europe and, in particular, the United States, and of course this balance has been undermined after the US withdrawal," 

May 14, 2018, in a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, according to Sputnik News
 

“Unfortunately, ignoring international regulations and global agreements has become a habit for the United States administration.”

May 14, 2018, in a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, according to PressTV

 

Iranian Foreign Ministry

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov have exchanged views on the future of the Iran nuclear deal following the withdrawal of the US from the 2015 agreement.

During the Monday talks, the two sides conferred on ways to deal with the legal, economic and political aspects of the US pull-out of the JCPOA.

Zarif underlined the necessity for an all-out exploration of the issue and added, “We have decided to give another chance to diplomacy to safeguard the interests of all parties involved.”

The Iranian foreign minister went on to say that the interests of all sides hinge on economic relations among them free from Washington’s undue interferences.

For his part, the Russian top diplomat underlined the need for fulfilling obligations under the JCPOA by all involved sides and providing appropriate mechanisms for saving the nuclear deal and safeguarding the interests of Iran and other parties to the accord.

During the talks, the two sides also discussed the latest regional developments including Syria crisis, the legal regime of Caspian Sea, the issue of Palestine and the irresponsible move by the US to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds.

May 14, 2018, in an announcement 

 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov 

We appreciate this opportunity to meet in Moscow to exchange opinions on the crisis that has developed over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear programme.

We know that in the next few days you plan to talk with all parties to this agreement, with the exception of the United States, which has announced its withdrawal from it. Regrettably, we once again see Washington’s intention to revise the main international agreements, such as the JCPOA, Jerusalem and other arrangements.  

Today we hope to discuss the possibility of rallying the assistance of the three main European countries plus China, Russia, Iran and the European Union to use the available methods to prevent the destruction of this crucial document, regional destabilisation and new threats to the non-proliferation regime.

As far as we know, the above three European countries, China, Iran and Russia have announced their intention to comply with the JCPOA provisions. Today we would like to hold an in-depth discussion of your plans and our common actions in this field.

***

We will definitely discuss this. I can understand Iran’s desire to protect its legitimate interests. However, I would like to say that Russia and the other parties to this agreement – China and Europe – also have their legitimate interests, which have been stipulated in this agreement and approved by the UN Security Council. This is why we should work together to protect the legitimate interests of every one of us.

May 14, 2018, in opening remarks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
 

"We have planned contacts with all parties to this deal, except for the United States, which announced the withrdawal from the agreement, in the coming days." 

May 14, 2018, in a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, according to Sputnik News
 

"We need to defend the legitimate interests of each of us together." 

May 14, 2018, in a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, according to RadioFreeEurope Radio Liberty

 

Russian Foreign Ministry 

On May 14, Acting Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a meeting with visiting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The main focus of the conversation was the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear programme in the light of the US withdrawal from the agreement.

The ministers agreed to continue close bilateral contacts on this matter. They also touched upon several pressing international problems, including Syria.

May 14, 2018, in a press release

 

 

BELGIUM

Flag of BelgiumOn May 15, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held talks with Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders in Brussels. The ministers discussed the importance of the JCPOA.


Iranian Foreign Ministry

The Iranian foreign minister has sat down for talks with his Belgian counterpart in Brussels.

During the Tuesday meeting with Didier Reynders, who is also Belgiums deputy prime minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif elaborated on the latest situation in the occupied Palestine and underlined the necessity of ending Israeli atrocities against Palestinians. Zarif touched upon Iran and Turkeys diplomatic efforts at the regional and international levels, and called on the international community to put pressure on Tel Aviv.

The top Iranian diplomat also elaborated on the latest consultations held following the United States withdrawal from the JCPOA, saying that Iran expects its interests to be secured under the agreement.

The Belgian foreign minister, in turn, touched upon the importance of preserving the JCPOA and its implementation as an international agreement, saying the EU is holding consultations and discussing ways to keep the agreement without the US presence.

The two top diplomats also discussed the latest regional and international developments.

May 15, 2018, in an announcement 

 

 

LUXEMBOURG

Flag of LuxembourgOn May 15, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke with his Luxembourgian counterpart Jean Asselborn over the phone about Luxembourg's support for the nuclear deal and securing Iran's interests. 


Iranian Foreign Ministry

Luxembourgs foreign minister, in a phone conversation with his Iranian counterpart, has announced his support for the Iran nuclear deal, saying the agreement should be preserved.

Jean Asselborn underlined his countrys backing for the JCPOA in a Tuesday phone conversation with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Luxembourgs top diplomat touched upon the European Unions efforts to secure Irans benefits under the JCPOA, demanding that the agreement remain in place as an international achievement.

The two top diplomats also discussed the latest situation in the occupied Palestine and the Israeli regimes recent atrocities against Palestinians.

May 15, 2018, in an announcement

 

 

VIENNA TALKS
 

EU High Representative and Vice President Federica Mogherini

"I think this is a moment of truth for the Europeans."

May 25, 2018, before a meeting of the Joint Commission on the JCPOA in Vienna, according to RadioFreeEurope RadioLiberty

 

EEAS Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid

A meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) took place in Vienna on 25 May 2018 upon the request of the Islamic Republic of Iran in order to review the implications of the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA and discuss the way forward to ensure the continued implementation of the deal in all its aspects.

Under the terms of the JCPOA, the Joint Commission is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the nuclear deal.

The Joint Commission was chaired, on behalf of EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, by EEAS Secretary General Helga Schmid and, following the withdrawal of the United States of America from the JCPOA, was attended by the E3+2 (China, France, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom) and Iran at the level of Political Directors/Deputy Foreign Ministers.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)'s Director General Amano was present at the beginning of the Joint Commission against the background of the 11th report by the IAEA which had just been issued. The participants welcomed the fact that the IAEA has again confirmed the continued adherence by Iran to its nuclear-related commitments. They also commended the professional and impartial role played by the IAEA, the only body charged with the monitoring and verification of the implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA and UN Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015).

Participants regretted the withdrawal of the United States from the nuclear deal and the announced re-imposition of US sanctions lifted under the JCPOA. The JCPOA is a key element of the global non-proliferation architecture and a significant diplomatic achievement endorsed unanimously by the UN Security Council in its Resolution 2231. 

The Joint Commission meeting provided the opportunity to address the unilateral withdrawal of the United States and its consequences, to discuss the way forward, and the continued implementation of the JCPOA with regard to nuclear and sanctions lifting-related commitments, as well as Procurement Channel matters and civil nuclear cooperation.

Participants recalled their commitment to the continued, full and effective implementation of the JCPOA, in good faith and in a constructive atmosphere, and recognised that the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions allowing for the normalisation of trade and economic relations with Iran constitute essential parts of the JCPOA. 

Participants reviewed the potential impact of the re-imposition of US sanctions following a meeting of the Working Group on the Implementation of Sanctions-Lifting, which was convened the day before. 

In this regard, participants discussed common efforts with a view to practical solutions concerning the following issues within the next few weeks: maintaining and deepening economic relations with Iran; the continued sale of Iran's oil and gas condensate petroleum products and petrochemicals and related transfers; effective banking transactions with Iran; continued sea, land, air and rail transportation relations with Iran; the further provision of export credit and development of special purpose vehicles in financial banking, insurance and trade areas, with the aim of facilitating economic and financial cooperation, including by offering practical support for trade and investment; the further development and implementation of Memoranda of Understanding and contracts between third-countries companies and Iranian counterparts; further investments in Iran; the protection of economic operators and ensuring legal certainty; the further development of a transparent, rules-based business environment in Iran.

These efforts are aimed at preserving the interests of businesses and investors engaged with Iran. Participants noted that economic operators pursuing legitimate business with Iran were acting in good faith based on commitments contained in the JCPOA and endorsed at the highest level, unanimously by a UN Security Council Resolution. 

Participants stressed their commitment to work to ensure that these benefits would continue to be delivered and agreed to this end to deepen their dialogue at all levels, including at the level of experts with a view to finding practical solutions to these problems.

Participants agreed to intensify their ongoing work in the Joint Commission and all its bodies in the format of E3/EU+2 and Iran, in particular the Working Group on the Implementation of Sanctions-Lifting.

As a next step, Iran proposed a Ministerial meeting of the Joint Commission.

―May 25, 2018, in a statement after a meeting of the Joint Commission on the JCPOA in Vienna

 

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghaci 

“We have not come to a decision whether or not to remain in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) yet."

“The European countries should tell us how they would be able to secure Iran’s interests in the JCPOA in the absence of the United States and with the return of the country’s sanctions."

―May 25, 2018, before a meeting of the Joint Commission on the JCPOA in Vienna, according to Tasnim News Agency
 

"For the time being, we are negotiating...to see if they can provide us with a package that can actually give Iran the benefits of sanctions-lifting."

"Then, the next step is to find guarantees for that package, and we need both legal and political commitments by the remaining participants in the [nuclear deal]."

May 25, 2018, to reporters after a meeting of the Joint Commission on the JCPOA in Vienna, according to RadioFreeEurope RadioLiberty

 

Click here to read Zarif's letter to the United Nations condemning U.S. withdrawal. 

Javad Zarif By Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äusseres [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons; Flag of Luxembourg with border By Original by User:SKoppderived by User:Juetho (Flag_of_Luxembourg.svg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; Flag of Belgium By Dbenbenn and others [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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