LONDON: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani praised Europe on Wednesday for taking a “big step” towards maintaining business with Iran after the unilateral US withdrawal from a 2015 nuclear deal and re-imposition of new sanctions on the Islamic republic.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also told the BBC on Wednesday that support from Europe to preserve economic ties with the Islamic republic in the face of US pressure was “better than expected”. In May, US President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, which is aimed at stalling Tehran’s nuclear capabilities in return for lifting some sanctions, and ordered the re-imposition of US sanctions suspended under the deal.
European powers have been scrambling to salvage the accord. The European Union announced last week a so-called Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) under consideration to facilitate trade with Iran could be in place before November.
“To maintain financial and monetary relations in Iran, Europe has formed a special body… Europe has taken a big step,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.
Rouhani, a pragmatist who engineered the nuclear accord and a short-lived period of detente between Tehran and Washington, said the Trump administration was “extremely angry” with Europe’s decision.