Iran not to hold negotiations with US, urges Europe to rescue nuclear deal

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, delivers a speech during the 55th Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, Germany, Feb. 17, 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/RONALD WITTEK

TEHRAN.- Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said that the government in Tehran will not hold negotiations with the United States following their recently imposed sanctions, officials said Friday.

IRGC’s deputy head of political affairs, Yadollah Javani, said that US President Donald Trump believed that after imposing the new sanctions Iran would face a state of internal disarray and would eventually seek negotiations, local Tasnim news agency reported.

Javani added that the US will not dare take military measures against the Islamic Republic.

Meanwhile, Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif urged Europe to stand up to the pressure the US has put it under in order to salvage the nuclear deal brokered four years ago.

Zarif called on the European Union to fulfill its obligations to normalize economic relations with his country and said it was to blame for reaching this situation.

“The US has bullied Europe — and rest of world — for a year and EU can only express ‘regret’,” Zarif said to his official Twitter account in the last hours.

Zarif referred to the EU’s Thursday statement, in which it called on Iran to continue to comply with its commitments set out in the nuclear deal signed and lamented US sanctions against Tehran.

“Instead of demanding that Iran unilaterally abide by a multilateral accord, EU should uphold obligations – including the normalization of economic ties,” Zarif added.

European countries have taken a series of measures to counter US sanctions, including a special payment channel, but they have proved largely unsuccessful.

On Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani said his country was reducing its own commitments under the agreement and would no longer respect limits on its reserves of low-enriched uranium – currently limited to 300 kilograms (661 pounds) – and heavy water, another chemical compound used in nuclear facilities.

In addition, Rouhani issued a 60-day moratorium for the rest of the signatories of the pact to fulfill Iran’s demands and save the country’s banking system and oil trade from international sanctions.

Hours after Rouhani’s announcement, Trump imposed sanctions on Iran’s iron, steel, aluminum and copper sectors and said those industries account for 10 percent of Iranian exports.

“Today’s action targets Iran’s revenue from the export of industrial metals – 10 percent of its export economy – and puts other nations on notice that allowing Iranian steel and other metals into your ports will no longer be tolerated,» Trump said in a statement.

Washington abandoned the nuclear agreement despite the support of the co-signatories and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has proved Iran’s commitment to the deal in 14 reports.

The JCPOA limits Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting international sanctions but has been weakened after Washington’s exit.

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