Iran sets deadline for Europe
Iran has given Europe until November 5 to deliver the “practical mechanisms” to buy oil from Iran and save the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA), or Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers, said Iran's deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araghchi, on September 4. As Radio Farda writes in the article Iran Sets November Deadline For Europe, the second batch of U.S. sanctions re-imposed on Iran mainly targets its banking system and oil exports. It is expected to be implemented on November 4, a day before the deadline Tehran has set for Europe.
Speaking to state-run Channel 4 TV, Araghchi insisted that the Iranian side has made it clear to the Europeans they will have to provide the country with their ‘practical mechanisms’ to translate their political statements into action before the new batch of sanctions takes effect in November.
In response to a question regarding concerns that exist in Iran about Europeans’ unwillingness to take practical steps to resist U.S. sanctions after its withdrawal from JCPOA, the Iranian deputy foreign minister said that “our talks with Europe are tight and intense, but we believe we should separate their political positions from the practical steps that they want to offer," state-run Mehr News Agency (MNA) reported.
Meanwhile, Araghchi admitted that the Europeans have not taken practical steps to implement JCPOA, stressing that Iran has not solely relied on the talks with them since there is always the possibility that they might be killing time.
Responding to a question about the exit of European companies from Iran’s market, Araghchi said those companies are private companies that have left Iran based on their own cost and benefit analyses. He also maintained that the talks with Europeans are only focused on the implementation of JCPOA and Iran’s missile program has never been on the agenda.
On August 29, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared any negotiations with U.S. representatives “forbidden," while insisting that President Hassan Rouhani’s government should not rely on Europe for tackling its economic problems.
Iran's authorities have repeatedly said that they expect the European Union to guarantee purchasing Iranian oil and provide facilities for Tehran's financial transactions.
Nevertheless, Iranian oil exports to the EU, nearly 740,000 barrels per day last March, dropped to 387,000 barrels per day in August.
On May 8, U.S. President Donald Trump declared the United States’ withdrawal from JCPOA) and the reimposition of sanctions. Immediately after the first batch of U.S. sanctions came into effect on August 6, giant European companies including France's supermajor oil and gas company France’s Total and carmaker Renault suspended plans to invest in Iran. Days later, Air France, British Airways, and Dutch KLM announced that they were going to suspend their flights to Iran.
A second batch of U.S sanctions targeting Iran's oil sector and central bank are to be re-imposed on November 4, while many analysts have described it as a “crushing blow” to Iran’s already faltering economy. Araghchi tried to downplay the impact of the second batch of sanctions. "We will not witness more intensified sanctions than what has been imposed so far by Americans on November 4," he said on Tuesday evening in his interview with Iranian state TV IRIB 4. “Americans are now executing the most amount of sanctions against Iran. They are going from one company to another, from one country to another, or even they go from an individual to another to force them into cutting off cooperation with Iran,” MNA cited Araghchi as saying.