Zarif in Moscow, Araghchi in Paris to consult on the 3rd step of JCPOA-related obligations
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has traveled to Moscow to talk with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on issues of mutual interest, including the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Iran news/ Commentary: with Zarif's visit to Moscow, a political-economic delegation headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi is heading to Paris to discuss French President Emmanuel Macron's new proposal on the JCPOA.
Zarif's visit to Russia is particularly important after his recent two-week consultations in three European and his Asian tour.
Iran's foreign minister said on Sunday, following his meeting in the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the Parliament, that if Europeans do not take the necessary steps by next Thursday, Iran will announce a third step.
"If the Europeans do not take necessary measures by Thursday, we will write a letter to the Europeans based on a decision made on May 7 and announce the implementation of the third step," he said.
"President Rouhani in his earlier letter has pointed out this issue," he added.
Now the consultations on the fate of the JCPOA have reached a decisive stage, and the gap between survival or passing the JCPOA is getting smaller every day.
In this regard, proposals between Iran and France over the past two weeks have been exchanged. The proposal, as Iranian president’s chief of staff Mahmoud Vaezi said, was the result of a five-hour telephone conversation between the presidents of Iran and France, and has been extracted as a 'blueprint' of the talks.
The Iranian official went on to say that Europeans have made great efforts to preserve the JCPOA in the political dimension, stating that Iran has seriously criticized Europeans for their failure in the economic dimension and has stated that Europeans have not fulfilled their JCPOA-related obligations.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday night in a telephone call with French President Emmanuel Macron that if Europe fails to meet its commitments, Iran will take the third step in reducing its obligations.
Referring to the fact that the main approach of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been to preserve the JCPOA and always strive in this direction, the President emphasized that full implementation of the commitments of both sides in the JCPOA and ensuring free shipping in all waterways, including the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, were two main goals of Iran in the current negotiations.
Failure to adhere to the JCPOA and United States' unilateral withdrawal from the agreement has led to many problems in the way of free trade interactions and has continued to be detrimental for Europe more than any other party.
As FM Zarif underlined Iran has never left the negotiating table and has always stated that is ready to implement the JCPOA and if the Europeans fulfill their obligations, Iran will resume fulfilling its obligations.
"The action that Iran has taken is in the context of Article 36 of the JCPOA and we will continue our negotiations," Zarif Reiterated.
According to Security Council Resolution 2231, all parties must be committed to the content of this agreement.
The status of Iran-Europe financial mechanism INSTEX is also a prelude to the fulfillment of Europe's commitments, but the reality is that Europeans are far behind in fulfilling their obligations to Iran.
On the latest status of European financial mechanism known as INSTEX, the Iranian Foreign Minister said: "As Iran has said from the beginning, INSTEX is a prelude to the fulfillment of Europe's commitments, and the Europeans and other members of the JCPOA have made commitments. Of course, we are not in any way putting China and Russia alongside Europe because China and Russia have continued their relations with Iran, but the Europeans have almost severed their trade relations with Iran, and they need to take the necessary steps."
Iran has so far provided sufficient opportunities to the remaining parties to the agreement by adhering to the JCPOA and negotiations, but the response it received from the other side is a clear violation of the JCPOA.
In the current situation, the French diplomatic effort to provide a viable solution to the JCPOA can be viewed in some respects as positive, but given that Europeans have almost severed their trade relations with Iran unlike China and Russia filling the gap by Europe needs more serious action. In fact, the outcome of the Paris negotiations may lead Iran to take the third step in reducing its commitment to the JCPOA.
An expert on International affairs Rahman Ghahremanpour believes that the three European countries and Iran have come to the conclusion that they have to make a serious decision on the matter, and recent events indicate that two sides cannot tolerate the situation created a year ago.
"We now have to see the diplomatic efforts in Moscow, Paris, and Vienna in the remaining days until the end of Iran's 60-day deadline to take the third step in reducing Iran's commitments to the JCPOA, to what extent can bring it back to full implementation' track, the expert said.
By: Hamed Shahbazi