'Europe must buy our oil’: Iranian leader lays out demands for Europe to keep nuclear deal
The list of conditions under which Iran would stay in the nuclear deal was laid out by the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei on Wednesday. In a speech before government officials, Khamenei listed a set of demands that France, Britain and Germany must comply with if they don't want to see Iran restart its nuclear program that was phased out under the 2015 deal.
While European countries that are party to the landmark agreement have criticized the US exit and vowed to stick to the deal, Khamenei argued that words were not enough and that Europe needs to formally denounce the US' decision at the UN.
“During the last two years, the US violated the JCPOA several times, and Europe remained silent. Europe must compensate for that silence,” Khamenei said, calling for Europe to “explicitly stand up to the US sanctions.”
While saying Iran doesn’t seek a “fight” with Europe, Khamenei noted, “these three countries have proved that, on the most sensitive issues, they follow the US.”
One of the core demands put forward by the Iranian leader for Europe is that it must ensure that Iran’s ballistic missile program and its actions in the region will not be a part of any future negotiations. Iran’s ballistic missile development has been at the forefront of Washington’s concerns, with the US accusing Iran of violating the spirit of the agreement, while Iran insisted the program is purely defensive.
In order to offset the economic losses that will be incurred on Iran by the renewal of the US sanctions, Europe must guarantee its oil revenues, Khamenei said.
“Europe must guarantee that Iran’s oil will be completely sold. If the US can damage the sale of our oil, we must be able to sell as much oil as we want. Europeans must guarantee that they compensate for the loss, and that they buy Iran’s oil,” he said.
Iran wants to receive clear safeguards from Europe that it will continue doing business with Tehran, Khamenei said, adding that verbal assurances will not suffice and the guarantees must be provided by European banks.
“We have no conflicts with regard to these three countries; but we do not trust them, based on previous experience,” he said.
In case Europe rejects the demands, Iran reserves the right to resume its nuclear program, he said, adding that once the nuclear deal becomes “useless” for Iran, “one way forward is to restart those halted activities.”
Speaking about the lessons Iran has learned from the US exit, Khamenei said that the flexibility Iran had shown when agreeing to curb its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief only made the US more aggressive. He argued that the Iranian government should no longer deal with the US since it’s repeatedly flouted its pledges.
The Iranian ultimatum comes just three days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid out “12 basic requirements” for Iran, ranging from withdrawing from Syria to cutting support to Houthis in Yemen and Hezbollah. Threatening Iran with “strongest sanctions in history,” Pompeo warned that it would struggle to keep its economy alive if it does not submit.
Iran has rejected the plan, and the EU also slammed the heavy-handed US approach to the Iranian problem, arguing that it does not help to further talks with Iran on topics not covered by the nuclear agreement.