European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini arrives to speak after a Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) ministerial meeting on the Iran nuclear deal on July 6, 2018 in Vienna, Austria. Photo: Hans Punz | AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — European, Russian, and Chinese
signatories reaffirmed their support for the Iran nuclear deal after a week of
meetings with top Iranian officials, although many of the objectives were
prefaced by commitments based "in good faith and in a constructive atmosphere."
"The participants discussed their recent efforts aimed
at providing practical solutions in order to maintain the normalisation of
trade and economic relations with Iran," read a statement from the Joint
Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), released by the
European Union on Friday.
The Commission was chaired by EU High Representative Federica
Mogherini and included foreign ministers from China, France, Russia, the United
Kingdom, and Iran.
"These initiatives are aimed at preserving the nuclear
deal which is in the security interest of all," said the joint statement
read out Mogherini.
After the United States pulled out of the deal in May,
economic sanctions targeting the Iranian government have hurt the economy and
people namely through currency devaluation.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad
Zarif have expressed dissatisfaction with a lack of "actionable
commitments" by the Commission.
For its part, the Commission "affirmed their
commitment" to several objectives including, but not limited to:
"wider economic and sectoral relations," "the preservation and
maintenance of effective financial channels," and "the encouragement
of further investments in Iran."
The commitments listed were prefaced by "in good faith
and in a constructive atmosphere."
Several European firms have cut ties with the Islamic
Republic because they would risk being sanctioned by the US Treasury
Department, as US banks form the backbone of the global economy.
The Iranians hoped for the Commission to make clear exemptions,
in order to prevent the US administration's goal of total economic isolation.
The Commission also affirmed their commitment for
"clear and effective support for economic operators trading with Iran,
particularly small and medium sized enterprises which are the backbone of many
Also conditioned were "the continuation of Iran’s
export of oil and gas condensate, petroleum products and petrochemicals."
They emphasized "practical support for trade with and
investment in Iran," adding that the work of private and public sector experts
could promote "Business Councils."
All sides of the Commission reiterated the need for the
"implementation of all nuclear related commitments."
"They welcomed steady progress made on the
modernisation of the Arak research reactor and took note with satisfaction that
the United Kingdom will take over the function of co-chair of the Arak Working
Group," the statement added.