European Approach to Iran Changing for the Better

European Approach to Iran Changing for the BetterEuropean Approach to Iran Changing for the Better

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, who was in Tehran on a political trip, said top European officials' visits to Iran indicate their changing approach toward Iran and the benefits promised to it under the unraveling 2015 nuclear deal.
"We are trying to set up wide-ranging ties with Iran and make attempts to preserve JCPOA," he said, using the abbreviation of the nuclear deal's formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
He made the remarks in a meeting with Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani in Tehran on Sunday, ICANA reported. 
Iran has been deprived of JCPOA’s benefits since the United States pulled out of the deal and reimposed sweeping sanctions on the Iranian economy.
European parties pledged to protect those interests, but have so far failed to keep Iran's international trade afloat.
When Iran gradually scaled back its JCPOA commitments to balance the deal, they urged it to return to compliance and eventually triggered the dispute resolution mechanism, opening the door to the restoration of global sanctions on Tehran.
The European Union, however, later extended the mechanism's timeline to prevent the case from reaching the United Nations Security Council.
European officials, including the EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell, have been visiting Tehran for discussions to reach an agreement.
Larijani censured Europe's lip service, saying they have been only speaking over the past year while Iran's economic interests under the deal have not been guaranteed.
He also said the European financial mechanism known as INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) has been useless.
The system aimed to facilitate trade between Iran and the EU by circumventing US sanctions, but has not carried out any transaction since its launch in January 2019.



Hormuz Initiative ‘Positive’

Pointing to close ties between Iran and Europe, Schallenberg said the two can work jointly for building trust across the Middle East, which has been experiencing heightened tensions in recent months.
He described Iran's Hormuz Peace Endeavor as "a positive and forward step" in efforts to ensure security in the region.
The Hormuz initiative, proposed by President Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations General Assembly last September, invited all regional states and the United Nations to work together for peace and security without the intervention of other countries.
Schallenberg also said Tehran and Vienna have good opportunities for cooperation in sectors, such as the environment, water and wastewater, and crisis management. 
The Austrian diplomat had earlier met his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and President Hassan Rouhani to discuss JCPOA and the need to preserve it. 
He had a frank discussion with Zarif on a wide range of issues of concern, particularly nuclear non-proliferation, the wider region and the current coronavirus outbreak, according to a tweet by the Austrian Foreign Ministry.
"He emphasized the Austrian & EU support for a political solution contributing to regional stability & security," the tweet said.  
The ministry added that in the meeting with Rouhani, Schallenberg underscored Austria's commitment to contribute to rebuilding trust in the region while emphasizing that all sides need to honor their commitments under JCPOA.

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