EU Seeks to Ease Concerns Over Trade With Iran

EU Seeks to Ease Concerns Over Trade With IranEU Seeks to Ease Concerns Over Trade With Iran

The European Union will make efforts to alleviate the concerns of European and Iranian businesses by removing obstacles to banking connections between the two sides, said the EU's foreign policy chief.

"We wish to take back our place [as a major trade partner of Iran] and will do our best," ICANA also quoted Federica Mogherini as saying in a meeting with Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani in Tehran on Saturday.

"To be Iran's top trade partner, we should prepare banking infrastructure first," she said.

The EU used to be the top trading partner of Iran over the years, but international sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear activities took the green continent to the fourth place, following China, the UAE and Turkey.

However, after the removal of sanctions as a result of the July 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and P5+1 (the US, Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany), Europe is eager to regain its share in the Iranian market.

"We have had negotiations with our American counterparts to help eliminate barriers to banking cooperation [with Iran]. I think Washington has the political will to solve the problem," she said.

Three months after the implementation of the deal on January 16, Iranian officials are now complaining that Tehran is not benefiting from the accord, as major foreign banks still steer clear of processing transactions on fears that they might fall foul of the remaining US sanctions over alleged human rights abuses in Iran and the country's missile program.

Mogherini said it is up to Iran and the EU, which made major efforts to have the nuclear deal concluded, to protect the accord from hostile moves.

"Huge political capital has been invested to clinch the deal whose outcome is to the benefit of the two sides. Political rhetoric of some countries should not damage the deal," she said.

Pointing to the fact that Iran has properly fulfilled its commitments under the pact, Mogherini hoped the other side of the deal (referring to the US) will also honor its obligations.

"We want a lasting agreement that produces concrete economic-political results," she said.

***Time to Enjoy Benefits

Larijani said the time has come for Iran to reap the economic fruits of the nuclear pact.

"The [full] implementation of the deal depends on the advancement of economic cooperation," he said. "We expect the trip of the EU's high-ranking politico-economic delegation to result in tangible outcomes."

Mogherini, heading an EU delegation comprising seven commissioners representing the bloc's various sectors, arrived in Iran on Saturday.

After a meeting with a high-ranking Iranian delegation headed by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the two sides issued a joint statement to specify objectives for widening bilateral ties in a broad range of domains, including politics, economy, culture, education, human rights, energy, environment, transport and agriculture.

They also agreed to help find peaceful settlements to regional conflicts through dialogue and engagement.