Date :Tuesday, November 20th, 2018 | Time : 01:06 |ID: 78514 | Print

Jeremy Hunt in Tehran: JCPOA is a vital component of stability in the Middle East

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SHAFAQNA- UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Jeremy Hunt arrived in Tehran on Monday for the first time since taking office to meet his Iranian counterpart.

Hunt’s office said in a statement that, during his meeting with Zarif, he would stress that the UK is committed to the nuclear deal as long as Iran sticks to its terms. He will also discuss European efforts to maintain nuclear-related sanctions relief.

Other signatories of the deal, the European Union, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, have been searching for ways to salvage the pact, Reuters told.

In a statement, Hunt called the nuclear deal “a vital component of stability in the Middle East.”

According to IRNA, Hunt and Zarif sat down for talks on a special payment system devised by the EU to keep Iran paid for trade as Trump has reimposed sanctions on Tehran in defiance of the 2015 deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The chief Iranian and British diplomats also discussed the ongoing war in Yemen as well as a range of other security issues in the Middle East, Tehran Times reported.

UK’s Hunt is the first visit by a western foreign minister since the US withdrew from the deal in May.

Iran will thrive despite US sanctions, says foreign minister

Speaking after meeting the British foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, in Tehran on Monday, Javad Zarif said: “We are used to pressure and we are used to resisting pressure. Sanctions always hurt and they hurt ordinary people, but sanctions seldom change policy, and that has been the problem with US sanctions all the time. They do not take people back to the negotiating table. In fact, they strengthen the resolve to resist.

“We will certainly survive. We will not only survive – we will thrive. We have tried to minimise the impact on the population but the ordinary people are going to suffer, the economy is going to suffer.”

Speaking to the Guardian, Zarif said he was confident the Iranian oil industry would find markets, even though the US measures have pushed down exports sharply. “There are always markets for oil, it depends on the conditions and the price,” he said. “I believe Iran will always sell oil.”

Zarif also challenged claims by the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, that the sanctions had been constructed to exempt humanitarian supplies, such as food and medicine.

The US has imposed financial sanctions on Iran,” he said. “When you want to transfer money, the bank does not ask whether it goes for food or other items – that is why sanctions always hit food and medicine.

“The US is not living up to its promises. We believe all sanctions are unlawful, and against UN security council resolutions, but the US is not even truthful to the commitment they have made.”

Zarif said Iran was frustrated by the slow pace of EU moves to help European companies that want to continue trading with Iran.

A clearing house known as a special purpose vehicle, designed to allow European companies that trade with Iran to bypass the sanctions, is due to be set up within the next few months. It has been seen as critical to reassuring Tehran that the EU wishes to reward Iran for signing the 2015 deal on its nuclear programme by expanding business with the country.

“What is important is that Europe has made the political commitment but, unfortunately, so far as practicabilities are concerned, it has been very slow,” Zarif said. “Hunt gave me commitment that the UK believes in the nuclear deal, but we also need to see some action.”

US allies accomplice in Trump’s crimes

British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt met Iranian Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani on Monday and discussed the most important bilateral, regional and international issues under the interests of the two countries.

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Secretary said that some European countries’ concordance with Trump Administration’s policies would be tantamount to assisting the US, the Zionist regime and some reactionary regimes of the region in their crimes.

Ali Shamkhani made the remarks while pointing to the successive and humiliating defeat of the policies of the US and its allies in the region.

Shamkhani in this meeting criticized absence of appropriate cooperation of the European Union in terms of the US withdrawal from the international agreement of JCPOA and the violation of the United Nations Security Council resolution, and said, “Nuclear negotiations and JCPOA concluded with EU hosting and efforts; its violation is also meant to violate the prestige, credibility and political status of the European Union by the United States.”

Shamkhani added that the Islamic Republic of Iran on the basis of its national interests and responsibilities has taken the necessary decisions regarding the action and the possibility of returning to the pre-agreement terms with regard to the inaction of other parties.

The current level of economic relations between the two countries and facilitating banking relations is not satisfactory, he stressed.

British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt in the meeting pointed out the difficulties and obstacles by the American administration against the road to financial exchanges and banking relations after JCPOA and also stressed the necessity of following up and resolving the issues.

He expressed satisfaction with the trip to the Islamic Republic of Iran and meeting with the high ranking officials, and said, “Europe is willing to preserve the achievements of JCPOA and pursue ideas like establishing an independent financial exchange system from the US and the economy without the dollar and is in a joint effort to operate it”, IRNA reported.

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