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Iran, Europe ‘finalizing mechanism for cooperation, US sabotage sure to fail’

Muslim Times(Web Desk) – Iran has been doing copious work with Europe to devise a mechanism to guarantee continued bilateral trade despite attempts by the United States to obstruct such cooperation, says an Iranian official, declaring that US sabotage is “certain” to fail as a result of ongoing Iranian-European diplomatic engagement.

“After much negotiation over a clear mechanism with Europe, we have neared certain understandings; and for sure, US sabotage in that regard will fail,” said Bahram Qassemi, spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, during a press briefing on Monday.

Qassemi referred to the US unilateral pullout from a multilateral deal with Iran, Europe, Russia, and China on May 8, and said Tehran has since been negotiating with the remaining parties to work out a mechanism to beat the US financial reach in European countries that would hinder their continued cooperation with Iran.

Iran struck the deal with originally six world powers and the European Union (EU) back in 2015, agreeing to curb its nuclear program in return for mainly lifting restrictions on its oil sales.

When US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled America out in May, he reintroduced the previous sanctions and imposed new ones on the Islamic Republic. He also introduced punitive measures — known as secondary sanctions — against third countries doing business with Iran.

Iran has stayed in the deal but has stressed that the other parties to the agreement have to work to offset the negative impacts of the US pullout for Iran if they wanted Tehran to continue to remain in it.

Europe has been taking a range of measures to meet the Iranian demand for practical guarantees.

On September 24, Iran and its five partners released a joint statement announcing the setting up of a “Special Purpose Vehicle” to facilitate continued trade with Iran, bypass the US’s financial system, and avoid any impact of America’s secondary sanctions.

That statement did not provide details. And EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said technical talks would ensue.

Qassemi said details would remain undisclosed to protect national interests and to preempt potential attempts to undermine Iran’s work with its partners.

But he did say “the mechanism for cooperation” was being finalized.

The Iranian spokesperson also said Iran would ultimately decide whether its demands have been met in practice.

“If, ultimately, and for whatever reason, the European Union and [our] other partners fail to provide the necessary guarantees to us, that can influence Iran’s decision, and the Islamic Republic will follow the path that is expedient for the country,” he said.

While attempting to throw a wrench in the works, the Trump administration has simultaneously been sending Iran requests for new negotiations. Tehran has ruled out any talks with the Trump White House because of its unlawful exit from the deal — which was turned into effective international law via United Nations Resolution 2231 back in 2015 — and has said Washington must return to the deal before any talk of negotiations.

Asked about the Israeli regime and its covert military nuclear program, Qassemi said Tel Aviv’s nuclear issue was not a concern for Tehran alone.

He reaffirmed a statement made by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that it was time for Israel to “open its illegal nuclear weapons program to international inspectors.”

Qassemi said international inspections of the Israeli nuclear program had to be put on the global agenda and that the current inaction on the matter was not sustainable.

In the briefing, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman also said that Monday’s missile strikes on the positions of terrorists in Syria carried the message that Iran was firm in conducting “an unrelenting, fundamental, and serious fight against centers that cultivate and train terrorists.”

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) targeted terrorist positions to the east of the river Euphrates, near Albu Kamal Town on Syria’s eastern border with Iraq in response to a terrorist attack during a military parade in the southwestern city of Ahvaz on September 22 — which killed 25 people and injured 69 others.

Qassemi also dismissed remarks by US officials blaming Iran for violence in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, where the US closed its consulate on Friday.

“America’s goal in that recent move was to cause new problems for the Iraqi government in this particular period of time,” he said. “And ultimately, putting blames and making accusations are obvious US policies toward Iran.”

Iraq is in the process of setting up a new government after the parliamentary elections in May.

Basra has recently been beset by violent protests. Iran’s own Consulate there was attacked in early September.

“Iran was in fact the victim of activities by violent and mercenary groups, which took orders from their enablers hostile to Iran, for the attack on the Iranian Consulate [in Basra],” Qassemi said.

Asked about recent reported remarks by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about Russia’s readiness to “mediate” between Iran and Israel, the spokesman said that it was gracious of Minister Lavrov to make that offer, but that Iran’s position on the matter was crystal clear.

“It is kind of him, but everyone knows our stance toward the Zionist regime (Israel) and its being illegitimate,” Qassemi said.

Iran does not recognize the Israeli regime, which is in occupation of Palestinian lands.

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