Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi warns that if world powers try to link the joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to other issues they will lose the agreement.
In a Monday’s interview with the Spanish newspaper El Pais, Araqchi in response to a question whether Iran was satisfied with the proposals made by EU Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete during his recent visit to Tehran, Araqchi said he was unaware of all aspects of the issue. ‘We are waiting for the Europeans to deliver us their economic package as they already promised,’ he said.
‘Of course,’ he said, ‘We do not want more than what has been enshrined in the JCPOA. I wonder whether the Europeans can meet our expectations or not.’
He also questioned whether Europe can guarantee Iran’s sale of crude oil, gas and petrochemical products now that the US has withdrawn from the JCPOA and vowed to re-impose sanctions on the country.
‘Can the European Union guarantee effective banking transactions with Iran? Can it protects its companies which are working in Iran? If a Spanish firm decides to do business with Iran, will the Madrid government or EU be able to protect it?’ Araqchi asked.
On Europe’s concerns about Iran’s regional role and missile program, the Iranian deputy foreign minister said, ‘These concerns had existed when we started our (nuclear) negotiations with EU, the US and other countries. At that time we all decided to deal with the nuclear issue separately and concentrate our efforts on its settlement and we made it.’
The US, EU and other countries (involved in the nuclear talks) were aware of Iran’s ballistic missile program and its stands on various regional issues but they decided not to mix these issues with the nuclear one, he said.
He warned that if they try to link the JCPOA with other issues, they will lose the agreement and make settlement of other issues more complicated.
As to dealing with other issues independently, the Iranian diplomat said ‘They should know that we have already signed an agreement that has not worked for Iran. Therefore, before anything else they must do something to make the JCPOA beneficial to Iran. How can we speak about negotiations on the second issue while the first one does not work properly.’
‘Our message is clear. The priority is that the JCPOA should work first and then we can hold talks,’ the Iranian diplomat said.
He said it is understandable that people are concerned about their economic situation but at the same time they understand this issue too that security is their first requirement.
‘Presence in Syria is a security matter for Iran because we know that if we do not confront the terrorists in Syria or Iraq, we will have to do this on Tehran streets,’ Araqchi said.
Referring to the volatile and dangerous situation of the region, Araqchi asked ‘Who initiated wars in the region? Was it Iran or the US that waged wars on Iraq and Libya? Who is now attacking Yemen? Who is killing Palestinian people in the occupied lands? Iran or Israel? ‘
Asked about Iranians having dual nationalities and whether it is safe for them to travel to Iran, Araqchi replied ‘Of course it is. There are five to six million Iranian expatriates living abroad. They are coming to and getting out of the country without any problems. Only few of them have been arrested on espionage charges.’