European powers have until May 31st to present Iran with a plan to offset the US withdrawal from its nuclear deal and Washington’s renewed sanctions, a senior Iranian official has said, with Tehran “weeks” away from deciding whether to quit the pact.
The 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers lifted international sanctions on Tehran. In return, Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear activities, increasing the time it would need to produce an atomic bomb if it chose to do so.
Since President Donald Trump withdrew the United States this month, calling the agreement deeply flawed, European states have been scrambling to ensure Iran gets enough economic benefits to persuade it to stay in the deal, reports Reuters.
But this has proven difficult with many European firms alarmed at the spectre of far-reaching US financial penalties. Nations that remain in the deal – Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – held a formal meeting on Friday without the US for the first time since Mr Trump’s announcement, but diplomats saw limited scope for salvaging the agreement.
“To be honest with you, we are not confident,” a senior Iranian official told reporters shortly before the talks between senior officials aimed at fleshing out the package of measures to keep oil and investments flowing. Those measures include banning EU-based firms from complying with the reimposed US sanctions, and urging governments to make transfers to Iran’s central bank to avoid fines.
Oil and banking
“We expect the [economic] package to be given to us by the end of May,” the Iranian official said. “I’m sorry to say that we haven’t [seen] the plan B yet. The plan B has just started to be figured out.”
He said European measures would need to ensure that oil exports did not halt, and that Iran would still have access to the Swift international bank payments messaging system.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
May 25th, 2018