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Europe practically took no effective action to make up for US sanctions, says Iran's ambassador

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Enrique Mora and Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani wait for the start of a meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna, Austria November 29, 2021. (File photo by AFP)

Europe has practically taken no effective action to make up for Washington’s inhumane sanctions on Tehran since the former unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 Iran deal, says the Iranian ambassador to Madrid.

Hassan Qashqavi said Iran showed its goodwill by entering the ongoing Vienna talks, despite the non-compliance of the Western parties to the 2015 agreement, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Qashqavi pointed out that the previous US administration unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA in violation of international law, saying the incumbent US president Joe Biden also failed to deliver on his presidential campaign promise of immediately rejoining the deal right after assuming office.

Pointing to the dire impacts of US sanctions against Iranians and their ramifications for Iran’s trade ties with countries such as Spain, the Iranian envoy said the European Union “has practically taken no effective action to offset Washington’s cruel sanctions.”

Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA – Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany – have been holding talks in the Austrian capital since April last year. The focus of the talks has been on the removal of all sanctions that the United States re-imposed on Iran following its withdrawal from the deal.

On Friday evening, the eighth round of the Vienna talks was paused so that the negotiators could return to their respective capitals for consultations. They are expected to return to the negotiating table after two days.

Throughout the talks, Tehran has made clear that the US, as the only country that has left the JCPOA, is responsible for the status quo, and therefore, it needs to take the initial step by removing all of the sanctions that it imposed after withdrawing from the deal in May 2018.

The Islamic Republic has also criticized the United States’ European allies for paying lip service to safeguarding Iran’s economic dividends, as foreseen in the JCPOA, and for their unconstructive attitude during the Vienna talks.

West’s contradictory conduct

On Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian noted a “contradiction” in the Western parties’ conduct, saying that reaching a “good agreement in the shortest time possible” would only depend on them.

“The conduct of Westerners compared to their statements that they are concerned and are in a hurry shows that there is a contradiction in their behaviors and remarks,” Amir-Abdollahian said on Friday, while on a high-profile visit to China.

“I would like to loudly declare that the Islamic Republic of Iran welcomes reaching a good agreement as soon as possible, but this would depend on the Western side,” he added.

In the meantime, IRNA on Friday quoted an informed source as saying that the negotiators are increasingly working on the sequence of actions that need to be taken under a possible agreement.

“We are engaged in discussing the details,” the source said. “This is one of the most ... lengthy and difficult stages of the negotiations, yet absolutely necessary in order to achieve our goal.”

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