Confidence in Europe’s Commitment to JCPOA

“JCPOA is far greater than a mere economic issue for Europeans. The security implications of the action plan are much more important than the trade relations between Iran and Europe”
Majid Takht-RavanchiMajid Takht-Ravanchi

The deputy for political affairs at the presidential office believes that European powers are unlikely to back away from the 2015 nuclear deal in the face of US pressure, citing their high stakes in the historic agreement.

"I do not believe that Europeans are moving toward pulling out of the JCPOA," Majid Takht-Ravanchi told ISNA on Saturday, using an abbreviation that stands for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official name of the deal.

However, he said Iran has fully geared up to deal with any scenario.

"We have made the necessary planning and the Foreign Ministry, the atomic energy organization, economic sectors and government and non-government bodies will know how to respond," should the US and its European allies walk out of the pact, Takht-Ravanchi said.

The three European powers, namely Britain, France and Germany, joined the US, Russia and China in nearly two years of EU-coordinated talks with Iran to seal the landmark agreement that saw international sanctions against Iran eased in exchange for time-bound curbs on its nuclear program.

But the action plan has faced harsh criticism by US President Donald Trump, who has blamed his predecessor Barack Obama for conceding too much to the Islamic Republic during the nuclear negotiations and failing to also target its missile and other non-nuclear activities.

The EU has said it is "carefully assessing" Trump's Jan. 13 statement on the international accord, in which the US leader set a 120-day deadline for fixing the deal's "disastrous flaws".

The European Union is desperate to protect deal, touting it as a major diplomatic achievement that averted a brewing war, but Trump has said Washington will abandon the deal and reimpose sanctions unless Tehran is subjected to tougher nuclear controls and new curbs on its regional role and ballistic missile program.  

Europeans have said they are open to taking action to address concerns over Tehran's non-nuclear activities, meanwhile opposing Trump's demand for a renegotiation of the pact, arguing that it is impossible to do so without voiding it.

Highlighting their staunch backing for the agreement, Takht-Ravanchi said Europe seeks more than just economic gains from the deal.

"JCPOA is far greater than a mere economic issue for Europeans. The security implications of the action plan are much more important than the trade relations between Iran and Europe. As the Europeans have said themselves they are firmly supporting the JCPOA because they see it as a multilateral project that has helped ease some of their economic as well as security concerns."

In his statement, Trump agreed to waive US nuclear-related sanctions but warned it was the "last chance" to fix the deal, demanding that US lawmakers and European allies draw up a new deal imposing restrictions on Iran's non-nuclear activities.

  Plane Deal  

A couple of days after Trump's announcement, European planemaker Airbus predicted the delivery of dozens of Iran-ordered European jets could take longer to complete than planned.

Takht-Ravanchi dismissed speculations that Trump's ultimatum has raised the possibility of such a delay, saying, "I believe this issue is more technical than political."

"Licenses are not the only issue in the delivery of the airplanes and financing such purchases is also important," he noted.

Airbus has secured a batch of export licenses from the US Treasury Department that expire around the start of the next decade, meaning it would need renewed permission to complete its planned deliveries to Iran, which are scheduled to stretch beyond 2020.

The number of deliveries covered by those existing licenses would shrink if schedules were delayed, industry sources say.

Industry sources say Iran has been forced by the lack of financing to pay cash via its central bank for the airplanes it has received already, and deals may be worked out allowing these payments to double as deposits for future aircraft deliveries, Reuters reported.

European planemaker Airbus and its US rival Boeing have agreed to sell a combined total of 180 jets to renew the aging fleet of state carrier Iran Air, but the deliveries depend on US support for the deal because of the number of US parts in all their jets.

So far Iran Air has taken delivery of three Airbus jets and a handful of turboprops built by its Franco-Italian affiliate ATR.

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