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Foreign Affairs

Green light on INSTEX amid US frail saber rattling

London, Regardless of the new US sanctions on the Iranian metal industry, planned in the pursuit of Washington's hostile policy toward Tehran, the White House's response to Iran's decision on the JCPOA can be conceived in Pompeo's comments when he announced the US has no problem with the INSTEX for humanitarian exchanges.

Hours after the Iranian president announced the first two steps of Iran in the first anniversary of the US withdrawal of JCPOA include stopping selling enriched uranium and transfer of heavy water for 60 days, Mike Pompeo appeared beside his English counterpart in London, and said, Iran's announcement that it had stopped respecting limits on its nuclear activities agreed under a 2015 deal was 'intentionally ambiguous', during a visit to London on Wednesday.

'I think it was intentionally ambiguous... We'll have to wait and see what Iran's actions actually are' before deciding the US response, Pompeo said after a meeting with British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt.

'They've made a number of statements on actions they intend to do in order to get the world to jump. We'll see what they actually do. The United States will wait to observe that and, when we do, we'll make good decisions,' he said.

As AFP reported, Pompeo also raised the subject of INSTEX, a trade mechanism launched by Britain, France and Germany earlier this year in a bid to allow Tehran to keep trading with EU companies bypassing US sanctions.

'We talked to UK, Germany and France about INSTEX. There are provisions in the sanctions we put in place that allow humanitarian aid and certain products to get into the country,' he said.

'We said so long as that vehicle is being used for that limited purpose, nonsanction purpose, it's of course unobjectionable. When transactions move beyond that... we will evaluate, review it, and if appropriate there will be sanctions against those who were involved in that transaction,' he added

It's for the first time that an American official has used a more modest tone about the European strategy to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran. Lord Lamont, the special envoy of the British government on Iran's business affairs, has previously attributed the delay in launching the INSTEX to the US opposition to the tool, saying that this mechanism reflects the will of Europe against US policies against Iran.

Iran's ambassador to Britain Hamid Baeedinejad wrote in a Twitter message:, Immediately after Iran's bid to suspend two of its actions based on the JCPOA, the US Secretary of State, after meeting with the British Foreign Secretary in London, announced for the first time that the United States has no problem with the launch of the first phase of the INSTEX, which is intended to exchange basic goods and medicine.

British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt said in a joint press statement with Pumpo in equivocated remarks, 'In return for the lifting of sanctions, Iran agreed to vital compliance measures. If they break that deal, then there will be consequences in terms of how European powers react. So we urge the Iranians to think very long and hard before they break that deal.

The UK senior diplomat spoke during a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Foreign Office in London referenced their difference of opinion over the Iran nuclear deal, stating, Whilst we both agree that Iran must never be able to acquire a nuclear weapon, it is no secret that we have a different approach on how best to achieve that. The UK has continued to support the nuclear deal.

At the same time, the MPs in the British House of Commons discussed the implications of Iran's decision on the emergency meeting and voiced concern about the possibility of Iran's withdrawal of JCPOA. The shadow cabinet Secretary, Amli Thorunbury attributed Iran's disappointment of the JCPOA to the hostile US policy and called on the Foreign Office to put forward concrete steps to maintain the 'crown of diplomatic achievements of the century.'

British Deputy Foreign Secretary Mark Field, also called on all countries, including China and Russia, to work hard on lifting the sanctions.

He described the abolition of sanctions as an important part of the deal, which not only affects trade relations but also the lives of ordinary people.

He also deeply regretted the return of US sanctions, adding that 'Britain, along with the rest of the remaining parties, and other countries that support this agreement, are committed to lifting the sanctions.'

Many analysts described Iran's measure to decrease parts of its obligations in the JCPOA that the Iranian president called 'surgery' as a clever move that made Europeans face with an important choice.

The Guardian wrote that Europe has been pursuing a policy of appeasement with Trump. But if they do not take a significant step, they will face a new crisis in the Middle East.

The English daily added, Although the speed at launch of INSTAX has little effect on the Iranian economy, it at least represents a political message against the Trump and an effort to preserve it.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency IRNA

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