Vienna, March 6 (IANS) Five major world powers met Iran in the Austrian capital on Wednesday to analyze the Islamic republic’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement amid the tough sanctions being applied by the US.
This was the first meeting between Iran, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China since the establishment of Instex, a European trade mechanism intended to save the Iran nuclear agreement, Efe news reported.
“This mechanism is in its early stages and we are still unsure how it is going to work and prove helpful. Therefore, we need to have expert discussions about it,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi was quoted as saying by Iran’s Mehr news agency before the meeting.
After the US pulled out of the agreement and revived sanctions on Tehran last year, European countries set up the Instex in January to facilitate trading with the Islamic republic without violating the sanctions.
Meanwhile, Washington criticized the trade mechanism and demanded the EU withdraw from the agreement, considering Iran a threat to peace in the Middle East.
According to a document by the French Economy and Finance Ministry, Instex will initially focus on trade with pharmaceuticals and food – products that are not affected by US sanctions.
Earlier in the day, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani explained in an address in the city of Lahijan that his country has “stood up to their (US) sanctions”.
“They were trying to incite us to violate our obligations, so that the world would follow them in imposing sanctions, but they failed in both steps.
“The US’ withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was a violation of rules and regulations, standing against the United Nations and the world,” the President added.
The 2015 agreement placed strict limits on Iran’s nuclear programme in order to prevent the country from building nuclear weapons, in return for lifting sanctions that had strangled its economy.
In its most recent report, the International Atomic Energy Agency, which oversees Iran’s nuclear activities, confirmed that the Islamic republic’s production and storage of enriched uranium and heavy water, as well as access to its nuclear installations, have complied with the nuclear deal.