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President Rouhani: Iran Serious to Pursue Interests under N. Deal

TEHRAN Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in a telephone conversation with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, reiterated that Tehran's commitment to the nuclear deal is conditioned on the fact that the Islamic Republic will legitimately benefit from the promises stipulated in the accord.

Europe must expedite its attempts to meet Iran's legitimate [economic] interests [under the deal] and bring about truce in the US economic warfare, President Rouhani underlined in his Thursday telephone dialogue with Macron.

The Iranian president stated that Tehran's continued commitment to the nuclear agreement is conditioned upon the remaining signatories' guaranteeing its economic interests now that the US has gone back on its obligations.

Iran's president says Tehran is determined to keep open all options for preserving the 2015 nuclear deal with world countries while ensuring it derives its interests under the agreement.

The Islamic Republic is determined to keep open all the paths leading to the JCPOA preservation, referring to the agreement by the abbreviation of its official title, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Rouhani also underlined the importance of Paris endeavors in ensuring the deal's existence.

Rouhani told Macron that Iran and the European signatories to the JCPOA need to invest in efforts aimed at implementation of balanced steps that could safeguard the deal because there are some in the United States, who would not want the efforts seeking to save the JCPOA to succeed.

He said that despite existing setbacks and sabotage activities, Tehran believed that the remaining signatories had to seize the time and task their experts with finding creative and appropriate approaches that save the agreement.

Rouhani said bilateral transaction using the INSTEX, including those transferring Iran's oil revenues, are be among the efforts that save the JCPOA.

He called potential removal of the American sanctions another approach that would assist the deal's survival and help restoration of the state of affairs to how it used to be prior to the US illegal moves.

On Tuesday, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei underlined his country's firm decision to continue scaling down its nuclear deal undertakings.

Addressing Friday Prayers Leaders from across the country in Tehran, Ayatollah Khamenei stressed that the Western governments' arrogant behavior is the main obstacle to the ties between the two sides.

"The western governments' major vice is their arrogance. If they face a weak government, their arrogance will be effective. But if that country knows the truth about them and resists, the Western governments will be defeated," he said.

Referring to problems rising between Iran and the European partners of the JCPOA, Ayatollah Khamenei said, "Now, in the matters between us and the Europeans, the problems persist, because of their arrogance."

He referred to Iran's commitment to the JCPOA and criticized the European signatories of the deal for breaching it.

"As stated by our Foreign Minister, who works hard, Europe has had eleven commitments, none of which it has met. The Foreign Minister, despite his diplomatic considerations, is clearly stating that. But what did we do? We acted based on our commitments, and even beyond that," Ayatollah Khamenei said.

He reiterated that Iran continued to stay within the JCPOA despite the fact that the EU partners of the JCPOA as well as the British government violated the international plan of action and yet demanded Iran to stay with its promises.

"Now that we have started to reduce our commitments, they step forward. They are very insolent, and they have not abided by their eleven commitments. We have just started to reduce some of our commitments, and this process will surely continue," Ayatollah Khamenei said.

Washington withdrew from the internationally-endorsed 2015 nuclear deal with Iran on May 2018, reimposed the toughest-ever sanctions against the country and started a plan to zero down Tehran's oil sales.

Under the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and six world powers in July 2015, Tehran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.

Yet, Iran continued compliance with deal, stressing that the remaining signatories to the agreement (specially the Europeans) had to work to offset the negative impacts of the US pullout for Iran if they want Tehran to remain in compliance. The Iranian officials had earlier warned that the European Union's failure in providing the needed ground for Tehran to enjoy the economic benefits of the nuclear deal would exhaust the country's patience.

Almost a year later, however, the EU failed to provide Tehran with its promised merits. Then, the US state department announced that it had not extended two waivers, one that allowed Iran to store excess heavy water produced in the uranium enrichment process in Oman, and one that allowed Iran to swap enriched uranium for raw yellowcake with Russia.

Until now, Iran was allowed to ship low-enriched uranium produced at Natanz to Russia before it hit the 300-kg limit and the US measure leaves no way for Tehran other than exceeding the ceiling for storing the enriched uranium in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Also, the United States would no longer waive sanctions that allowed Iran to ship heavy water produced at its Arak facility beyond a 300-ton limit set in the 2015 nuclear deal to Oman for storage which again forces Tehran to store it inside country in violation of the nuclear deal.

In return, Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) announced in a statement on May 8 that the country had modified two of its undertakings under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in return for the US abrogation of the deal and other signatories inability to make up for the losses under the agreement, warning that modifications would continue if the world powers failed to take action in line with their promises.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran declares that at the current stage, it does not any more see itself committed to respecting the limitations on keeping enriched uranium and heavy water reserves," the statement said.

Then Iran gave Europe 60 days to either normalize economic ties with Iran or accept the modification of Tehran's obligations under the agreement and implement the Europe's proposed INSTEX to facilitate trade with Iran.

Iran set up and registered a counterpart to INSTEX called Special Trade and Financing Instrument between Iran and Europe (STFI) to pave the way for bilateral trade.

Then on June 28, Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Helga Schmid announced that INSTEX has become operational.

"INSTEX now operational, first transactions being processed and more EU Members States to join. Good progress on Arak and Fordow projects," Schmid wrote on her twitter account after a meeting of the Joint Commission on JCPOA ended in Vienna following three and a half hours of talks by the remaining signatories to the deal (the EU3 and Russia and China).

It was the 12th meeting of the Joint Commission on JCPOA in Vienna.

Meantime, seven European countries--Austria, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden--in a joint statement expressed their support for the efforts for implementation of the INSTEX.

Later, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi described the nuclear deal joint commission meeting with the Europeans as "a step forward", but meantime, reminded that it did not meet Iran's expectations.

It was a step forward, but it is still not enough and not meeting Iran's expectations, said Araqchi, who headed the Iranian delegation at the JCPOA joint commission meeting in Vienna.

In addition to their defiance of the JCPOA, the Europeans showed more animosity towards Iran and seized an Iranian oil tanker by Britain at the US request.

Acting Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said Gibraltar detained the supertanker Grace 1 after a request by the United States to Britain.

Borrell was quoted as saying that Spain was looking into the seizure of the ship and how it may affect Spanish sovereignty as it appears to have happened in Spanish waters.

Spain does not recognize the waters around Gibraltar as British.

Experts believe that the measure taken by the British government in seizing the Syria-bound Iranian tanker is illegal and can have serious consequences for the government in London.

Source: Fars News Agency