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Iran Press TV

Iran expects EU to stand against Washington's illegal measures: President Rouhani

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 23 February 2020 5:05 PM

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says the Islamic Republic expects the European Union to object to the illegal measures taken by the United States against Iran and ignore Washington's pressure policy in order to boost Europe's ties with Tehran.

"The EU is expected to stand firm in the face of the illegal measures taken by the US," Rouhani said in a Sunday meeting with Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg in Tehran.

"Like the coronavirus, the fear inspired by the US sanctions is more than what their real nature deserves," the Iranian president said.

Pointing to the US economic sanctions against the Iranian nation, which also include medicine and food, Rouhani added, "Imposing such sanctions is an act of terror and we expect the European Union to fulfill its humanitarian duty in this regard."

He said Iran's initiative for regional security, known as the Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE), is aimed at establishing peace in the region, adding, "All the problems in our region are rooted in Washington's inappropriate and illegal interference in regional issues."

In an address to the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, Rouhani invited all countries that are affected by developments in the Persian Gulf to join the country's initiative for the security of the strategic region.

He said that the 'Coalition of HOPE' aims to promote peace, stability, progress and prosperity of littoral states and help achieve mutual understanding and establish peaceful and friendly relations among them.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani emphasized that the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), does not only belong to Iran, Europe or the P5+1 group of countries (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany) with whom Iran clinched the deal, because it can play a determining role in improving peace and security on a global scale.

"We still believe that we can preserve the JCPOA," the Iranian president stated.

US President Donald Trump, a stern critic of the historic deal, unilaterally pulled Washington out of the JCPOA in May 2018, and unleashed the "toughest ever" sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism in an attempt to strangle the Iranian oil trade.

In response to the unilateral move, Tehran has so far rowed back on its nuclear commitments four times in compliance with Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, but stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the mutual trade from the US sanctions.

Tehran has particularly been disappointed with failure of the three European signatories to the JCPOA (Britain, France and Germany) to protect its business interests under the deal after the withdrawal.

'Keeping JCPOA in place main policy of Austria, EU'

The Austrian foreign minister, for his part, said preserving the nuclear deal is a main policy for his country and the EU, vowing to make utmost efforts in this regard.

He added that Vienna welcomes the HOPE initiative as a road map to creation of peace and stability in the region, saying that "Vienna hails the initiative whose aims is to build confidence [with the world].".

Schallenberg, who arrived in Tehran at the head of a delegation on Sunday, held talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif earlier in the day.

The top Iranian and Austrian diplomats discussed the latest developments related to the JCPOA and the Europeans' obligations under the deal, stressing the importance of further expansion of mutual relations in various fields.

During the second round of their talks, Zarif and Schallenberg exchanged views about leading regional and international developments.

In the presence of the two foreign ministers, Iranian and Austrian officials signed an agreement to boost cultural and artistic cooperation.

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