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UK, Norway vow to expand trade ties with Iran despite US bans

Muslim Times(Web Desk) – British and Norwegian top diplomats have assured their Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif that London and Oslo will try to maintain and even expand their business cooperation with Tehran despite the re-imposition of US sanctions on the country.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, in a Monday phone conversation with Zarif, underlined the commitment of London and other parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to continued implementation of the 2015 deal.

He also underlined the need for immediate establishment and implementation of Europe’s special payment mechanism known as Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) in a bid to maintain economic cooperation with Iran.

Earlier on Friday, top European diplomats vowed to preserve and maintain “effective financial channels with Iran, and the continuation of Iran’s export of oil and gas.”

A joint statement released by France, Germany, the UK, and the European Union asserted that efforts have been intensified in recent weeks, particularly those underpinning the European initiative to establish the SPV.

According to the statement, the SPV “will enable continued sanctions lifting to reach Iran and allow for European exporters and importers to pursue legitimate trade.”

In another phone conversation with Zarif, Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide also expressed her country’s support for the implementation of JCPOA, and underlined the need for expansion of mutual cooperation between Tehran and Oslo.

The comments by European diplomats come shortly after the United States announced re-imposition of the “toughest” sanctions ever against Iran in an attempt to curtail the Islamic Republic’s oil exports and put extra pressure on the country’s economy.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin took the podium at the State Department’s Foreign Press Center in Washington on Monday to unveil what the White House claims will force Iran to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs while rolling back Tehran’s influence in the Middle East region.

Pompeo said the US had successfully persuaded over 20 countries to stop or dramatically reduce their oil imports from Iran, causing Tehran’s overall sales to suffer by more than 1 million barrels per day.

This is while the US administration agreed on Friday to allow eight countries – Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Turkey, India, Greece, and Italy – to continue purchasing Iran’s crude oil after Washington’s sanctions on Tehran take place.

During the Monday phone call, Zarif and the Norwegian foreign minister also conferred on the Danish police’s accusation against a Norwegian-Iranian citizen, who is charged with plotting to assassinate an anti-Iran figure in Denmark.

The Iranian top diplomat once again expressed Tehran’s preparedness to have all-out cooperation with European governments in order to reveal the truth, stressing the need for shedding light on all aspects of the issue.

Earlier on Sunday, a senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official reiterated the Islamic Republic’s readiness to cooperate with European countries in fighting terrorism.

The Iranian official made the call in a meeting with Norwegian and Swedish ambassadors to Tehran, and Denmark’s chargé d’affaires.“At the meeting, it was announced that Iran was ready for comprehensive and expansive cooperation, including in security areas and implementation of joint fact-finding investigations, with the respective countries,” said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram

Denmark recently accused Iran “of planning to assassinate an Iranian activist on Danish soil”. The accusation came shortly after a similar allegation by France.

Tehran has vehemently rejected these claims saying such allegations are in line with the conspiracies and plots of the enemies of Iran who cannot tolerate the good and growing relations between Iran and Europe in the current special situation.

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