Jan 9, 2019, 2:18 PM
News Code: 83164702
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Veep: Iran will continue to protect JCPOA

Tehran, Jan 9, IRNA – Iran's First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri reiterated Iran's absolute determination to protect the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and said Tehran will contine to defend it.

He made the remarks in an interview with the Euronews Television network in a recent interview.

He said 'Europe is facing a test to prove that they can make decisions independent of the US government, in particular when an administration like Trump's is in office.'

'The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has been one of the important measures taken by the Islamic Republic of Iran. This agreement was concluded to answer an allegation that had resulted in pressures being imposed on Iran and the Iranian people,' he said.

Jahangiri said, 'Whether it’s been during the course of negotiations or now, we’ve always tried to share the issue honestly with our people. Unfortunately, US sanctions were reinstated - and in a more damaging way - following Washington's decision to pull out of the deal unilaterally.'

'With this new round of sanctions, the US has used every possible means, incentivizing and threatening other countries and companies to impede them from working with the Islamic Republic of Iran. In response, we’ve adopted some measures in a number of areas. For one, we’ve stated that so long as other JCPOA signatories keep their sides of the bargain, and in particular as long as the European Union takes concrete measures in this regard, we are prepared to see the deal remain in place and will continue to honor it.'

Regarding the actions the three signatories of the JCPOA, namely Germany, France and the UK, have done to salvage the deal, he said these countries are among the ones that agreed to implement their commitments and obligations under the deal if Iran kept its side of the bargain. They, as well as Russia and China and the other remaining five parties to the deal, are expected to keep to all their commitments.

'So far, the EU in general and Germany, France and the UK in particular have behaved well and in a timely fashion when it comes to the politics and adopting diplomatic stances and we are satisfied with them. However, in terms of practical, concrete measures, we are yet to see any concrete measures from these three countries that would enable us to implement this deal to serve the interests of our people and our economy.'

Iran's first vice president added that 'now, since World War II, Europe is facing a crucial test. Can it make decisions independent of the US government, in particular when an administration like Trump's is in office? Can it defend its interests and its international commitments?'

'In reality, we haven’t seen any effective performance from the EU.'

Answering a question about the EU's willpower or capability to stand up against Trump, he said that Iran had assumed the EU has such a capability, and in fact theoretically, they have done well so far.

'However, when it comes to practice, the EU financial structure and in particular the EU banking system has revealed that this Union isn’t capable of standing up for itself as an independent decision-maker... a powerful entity that can conserve what it has achieved and fulfill its commitments. However, we’re still hopeful it will keep its end of the deal.'

Jahangiri said when it comes to making any international decision, Iran takes the costs and its national interests into account. Where the benefits outweigh the costs, Iran stands by our decisions.

'Although we have been largely disappointed with the EU's efficiency in taking concrete measures, there is still hope that the EU could do something so we can reap the benefits of the JCPOA. Inside the country, the government has been under massive pressure from those who believed all along the EU would not fulfill its commitments and is not to be trusted. As a matter of fact, this pressure has been mounting, given the EU's failure to fulfill its commitments. However, we believe that the JCPOA should remain in place so long as the interests of the Iranian people require it.

Answering the question about if Iranian government could take other voluntary steps in exchange for promises from the EU, Jahangiri said, 'The JCPOA is a deal in which everything has been defined. The measures Iran has to adopt or steps it must take have been specified in the deal.'

Saying that the JCPOA is main issue now, he added Iran won't make any commitments beyond the scope of the JCPOA.
'Under the Plan of Action, all parties to the deal who have negotiated and signed it must keep their sides of the bargain.'

Regarding the EU parliamentary elections and the fact that it os possible that High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and her team may leave their posts after this election, Jahangiri said that Governments come and go. Even commitments undertaken by figures like Mrs. Mogherini who is affiliated with the whole EU are not individual commitments.

'This is a commitment of an entity called the EU and from Germany, France and the UK. Who is in office and holds power is not the main determinant. We expect the EU to fulfill all its commitments under the Joint Plan of Action regardless of any change that may happen.'

Jahangiri also answered a question about the movement in France called the Yellow Vests and its similarity to the recent events involving Iranian workers in Tehran. He said, 'These two don't share any similarities.'

'The Islamic Revolution emerged victorious 40 years ago and now we are about to celebrate the anniversary of this victory. The most important objective of the Islamic Revolution has been to address the needs of the underprivileged, protect and contribute to the development of deprived regions and create the freedom and justice that the public demands. During the last 40 years, we’ve witnessed peaceful rallies and gatherings in big cities across the country such as Tehran. The slogans voiced during these gatherings were in line with the slogans of the Revolution and the public demands are a far cry from what is happening now in France and some other European countries.'

'However, there’s no way you can interpret these demands as a public protest triggering a movement like that of the Yellow Vests in France.'

Regarding the Syrian Crisis and US pullout of the war stricken country, Jahangiri said
The only country that’s always had a consistent, stable stance regarding the Syrian issue has been Iran. Some countries, even some of our friends currently engaged in negotiations with us, were insistent on the overthrow of the Syrian government and the dismissal of President Bashar Assad. It seems that with the support it’s received, the Assad government along with the Syrian people and the Syrian army have managed to emerge victorious in their struggle against the groups and the extremists who had plans to overthrow them and install their own government.

He added that the US' presence in Syria was always an illegal one. The Syrian government never invited the US, even to combat ISIS. It’s on record that ISIS and other terrorist groups operating in Iraq and Syria came to life through the activity and sponsorship of the United States, some western countries as well as some regional ones, notably Saudi Arabia and the Zionist regime.

Jahangiri said once they saw the Syrian government and its supporters had weathered the crisis, they realized their presence in Syria was in vain and had to leave. I believe the US withdrawal means the Americans finally realized that they had a costly presence in Syria that wouldn’t serve their interests. Others cannot restrict Iran's presence in Syria; it will keep helping the Syrian government as long as the Syrian government needs Iran's help.


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