News ID: 220206
Published: 0151 GMT August 21, 2018

EU needs payment systems independent of US to save JCPOA: Germany

EU needs payment systems independent of US to save JCPOA: Germany

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas says European countries need to adopt payment systems independent of the United States if they seek to keep a historic nuclear deal signed with Iran alive after Washington's withdrawal from it.

In his statement written in the Handelsblatt business daily, the German foreign minister added that it was "right to legally protect European companies from sanctions."

"That's why it is indispensable that we strengthen European autonomy by creating payment channels that are independent of the United States, a European Monetary Fund and an independent SWIFT system," Mass said in the article to be published on Wednesday, Presstv Reported.

The United States has ramped up pressure on Iran after US President Donald Trump withdrew Washington in May from the landmark nuclear agreement, reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries in 2015, and decided to re-impose unilateral sanctions against Tehran.

Under the deal, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.

In defiance of warnings from the European Union, the JCPOA signatories and many international players, President Trump signed an executive order on August 6 re-imposing a first round of sanctions on Iran, which were lifted under the nuclear deal, to levy "maximum economic pressure" on the Islamic Republic.

The top German diplomat emphasized that Europe considered as a mistake the US move to pull out of the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but was ready to work with the United States.

"Every day the deal is alive is better than the highly explosive crisis that would otherwise threaten the Middle East," he added.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday that European countries must be ready to bear the expenses if they want to safeguard their long-term interests in the face of the United States’ law-breaking behavior after quitting a nuclear deal with Iran.

He added, “Europeans have been very good in declaring their positions [on the JCPOA], but to pay that price, they need to make a decision and they have only a limited time for that decision and cannot wait forever.”

Earlier this month, the European Union threatened to impose sanctions on companies that stop doing business with Iran in compliance with the US sanctions snapback mechanism.

“If EU companies abide by US secondary sanctions, they will, in turn, be sanctioned by the EU,” Nathalie Tocci, an aide to the 28-nation bloc’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said.

Iran's First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri said on Sunday that Tehran is looking for solutions to continue selling its crude oil after the United States re-imposed its sanctions on the country’s energy sector in early November.

Speaking in an interview with IRNA, Jahangiri noted that European countries have told Iran's Foreign Ministry that they will be taking measures before US sanctions come into effect against the country's oil and banking sectors to make up for any possible losses that Tehran may suffer.

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