NEW YORK: The European Union, Iran, China and Russia have set out a plan to sidestep unilateral US sanctions designed to cripple the Iranian economy and force the Iranians to renegotiate the nuclear deal signed in 2015.
European diplomats hope the proposed measure – known as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) – will help persuade an increasingly reluctant Iran to stay inside the deal in the hope of rescuing its economy.
Speaking on the sidelines of the UN general assembly in New York, Federica Mogherini, the EU external affairs chief, said the SPV was designed to facilitate payments related to Iran’s exports – including oil – and imports, so long as the firms involved were carrying out legitimate business under EU law.
The aim is to make the SPV available not just to EU firms but to others, she added.
In his address to the United Nations general assembly, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, stressed Tehran’s continued commitment to the deal and accused the US of pressurising other countries into violating the nuclear agreement.
“Confronting multilateralism is not a sign of strength,” he said. “Rather, it is a symptom of the weakness of intellect. It betrays an inability in understanding a complex and interconnected world.”
But the US president Donald Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, addressing an anti-Iran pressure group, said he was “disturbed and indeed deeply disappointed” by the EU plan.
“This is one of the of the most counterproductive measures imaginable for regional and global peace and security,” Pompeo said.