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5 May, 2019 02:18

EU vows to trade with Iran, denounces US decision not to extend waivers to purchase Tehran’s crude

EU vows to trade with Iran, denounces US decision not to extend waivers to purchase Tehran’s crude

A year after President Trump unilaterally withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Deal, its European signatories, who still honor the agreement, have expressed concern over the US decision not to extend waivers on oil trade with Tehran.

“We ... take note with regret and concern of the decision by the United States not to extend waivers with regards to trade in oil with Iran,” France, Germany, the UK and EU’s representative said in a statement.

The trio said they remain “committed to working on the preservation and maintenance of financial channels and exports for Iran.”

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The Europeans reminded Washington that the Iran nuclear agreement, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) remains a “crucial element” of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and therefore is “essential” to European security. Iran, they said, continues to be in full compliance with the agreement’s terms which limits the country’s nuclear research, noting that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) attested to that fact in 14 of their reports.

After Washington re-imposed sanctions on Tehran in November last year, the US government granted eight countries six-months waivers to keep buying Iranian crude. Those waivers expired on May 1 and now those buying Iranian oil are under threat of US sanctions.

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This week, the US also began tightening screws on foreign participation in Tehran’s civil nuclear projects, introducing sanctions on foreign assistance to expand Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, one of three civil research facilities in the country. While it is still possible to receive reduced waivers (90 days instead of 180 days), the European trio also slammed that development.

“The lifting of nuclear-related sanctions is an essential part of the JCPoA – it aims at having a positive impact not only on trade and economic relations with Iran, but most importantly on the lives of the Iranian people,” they stressed in their statement.

Despite a set of hostile US actions, which also included formally branding Iran’s revolutionary guard as a “terrorist organization,” the Europeans continue to “encourage all countries” to make their “best efforts” to conduct legitimate trade that JCPoA “allows for, through concrete steps.”

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