Rouhani warns Macron Iran needs action not more words to stay in nuclear deal

Rouhani warns Macron Iran needs action not more words to stay in nuclear deal
The clock is ticking on Iran's patience with Europe when it comes to saving the nuclear deal, says Rouhani
By bne IntelliNews June 12, 2018

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on June 12 warned the major powers trying to save the nuclear deal that it was not possible for Tehran to stay in the multilateral accord if it cannot benefit from it following the unilateral US withdrawal.

In a call with French President Emmanuel Macron, Rouhani said he was satisfied with Europe's stance, and particularly French efforts, in the attempt at salvaging the 2015 deal, but that "such statements should be combined with actions and tangible measures".

"If Iran cannot benefit from the deal, then it's practically impossible to stay in the accord,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by Iranian state news agency IRNA.

Each day brings more news of European companies winding down business operations in relation to Iran. Despite pledges from London, Paris and Berlin to find ways to shield enterprises that remain in trading or investment relationships with the Islamic Republic from penalties threatened by Washington, progress on that front has been slow and strong US secondary sanctions are on the horizon. Another problem for the pragmatic-centrist Rouhani is that the hardliners who say he should never have trusted the US enough to sign the nuclear deal—formally known as the Joint Plan of Comprehensive Action (JCPOA)—in the first place are making political capital out of the growing economic pressure on Iran caused by the unravelling agreement. One element of that is the collapse in the unofficial rate of the Iranian rial against the dollar.

France, the UK and Germany are now up against the clock in their battle to ensure Iran retains enough economic benefits to persuade it to not pull out of the JCPOA.

Macron's office said he had told Rouhani in the telephone call that France remained committed to the nuclear deal but Tehran needed to continue complying in full with its commitments.

"The President of the Republic recalled the will of France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China, to continue to implement the Vienna agreement [from which the JCPOA document emerged] in all its dimensions," Macron's office said.

"The president informed President Rouhani of the progress in the work being done on our side. He hoped that Iran, for its part, will fulfil its obligations without any ambiguity," it added.

Macron's office also confirmed a ministerial meeting between all the remaining JCPOA signatories will take place in coming weeks in Vienna.

French diplomatic sources told Reuters the meeting was likely to take place during the week of June 25.

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