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Official warns EU advocating Trump ‘legacy to blackmail Iran’

Iran has warned that with US President Donald Trump "almost gone", the European Union is "advocating to use his legacy to blackmail Iran".

Trump abandoned a landmark nuclear deal with Iran and slapped the most aggressive sanctions on the country in a bid to force Tehran to negotiate a new concession on its missile capabilities and influence in the Middle East.

The Europeans remained in the nuclear deal, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but they did not support Iran against the US sanctions as required by the agreement.

US President-elect Joe Biden has supported returning to the nuclear deal and negotiating with Iran, which has demanded an immediate lifting of the sanctions for any talks to resume, but the Europeans seem intent on playing hardball with Tehran.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh summed up the quandary in a tweet late Sunday:

When EU foreign ministers met in Berlin last month to discuss the JCPOA's future, UK daily the Guardian and other media outlets indicated that the three European powers were considering setting fresh preconditions on a revival of the Iran nuclear deal.

The German foreign minister, Heiko Maas, had already spoken of the need for a “nuclear deal plus” with Iran that would also cover the country’s conventional missile program and regional role.

In an interview with Spiegel magazine, Maas said last month that “a return to the previous agreement will not be enough,” and that “there will have to be a kind of ‘nuclear deal plus’, which is also in our interest”.

The Guardian said France, Britain and Germany agreed in Berlin not to set new preconditions for the time being and were content for any discussions on "extending and strengthening the deal to wait".

The UK, it said, was understood to believe the issue of extending the deal need not be raised until “significant progress” has been made on coming back into compliance.

Iran has scaled back its compliance under certain articles of the agreement in response to the unilateral US sanctions and the Europeans' failure to support Tehran, stating that it will come back into full observance once the sanctions are lifted.

UK foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, reportedly said at the meeting that it was important Iran did not go ahead with further dilution of its commitments to the deal.

Maas also urged Iran not to squander what he viewed as the window of opportunity represented by the incoming Biden administration.

“Now we have to look forward and the next weeks and months will decide whether the deal can be saved,” he told reporters in Berlin.

Iran has made it clear that it will return to full compliance only if the sanctions are lifted - a fact that the Europeans prefer to ignore and use Trump's coercive measures as a leverage in any negotiations with the Islamic Republic.

On Friday, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made one of his harshest criticisms of the EU after the bloc attacked Trump for inciting an unprecedented raid on the US Capitol by his supporters.

“Those who succumbed to Trump's lawless bullying for 4 yrs—to protect their skin at OUR people's expense—now condemn his assault on the rule of law,” Zarif tweeted.

“But still try to use his #EconomicTerrorsm against Iran as ‘leverage,’” he added, chiding, “If you can't grow a spine, gain foresight—for your own sake.”

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Source: Press TV


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