Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday that other parties to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal had agreed to work out ways of trading with Iran independently of the United States’ “whim”.
Speaking after the first ministerial meeting between the remaining parties to the 2015 Iran deal since the United States withdrew in May, Lavrov said new ways of trading with Iran would be needed if Washington restores sanctions against Tehran.
Lavrov told reporters in Vienna that Russia, China, Germany, France and the UK agreed to establish a permanent expert mechanism that will be tasked with finding ways to maintain trade with Iran regardless of US sanctions.
"We agreed… that the permanent mechanism of the joint commission at the level of experts will work on a regular basis to review options that will allow keeping all the obligations under the JCPOA despite the US decision, and maintaining trade and economic ties with Iran… independently from the US," Lavrov said referring to the Iran deal by its official name.
US president Donald Trump announced on May 8 that Washington was walking away from the nuclear agreement and that he plans to reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose "the highest level" of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.
The top diplomat also expressed doubts that US sanctions policy against Iran would be changed.
"Everyone agrees that this practice (US sanctions on Iran) is absolutely illegitimate. But this is the policy that is unlikely to be changed. There will be an intensive fight in trade and economic and political spheres. The permanent expert mechanism will be working out trade solutions that will not create problems for economic actors of those countries who remain committed to the JCPOA," he added.
Lavrov stressed the importance of comprehensive trade solutions and methods toward Iran.
"It is of utmost importance to have these trade solutions and methods comprehensive enough because Iran agreed on this deal in exchange for a full liberalization of those conditions that existed during the sanctions regime."
Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.
Lavrov also mentioned that Paris was considering the introduction of payment methods that would allow abandoning the use of the US dollar in its trade with Tehran.
"Our French colleagues explained that they cannot do anything about it. What they can do is jointly and individually work out such forms of trade and payments that will not be dependent on the US dollar and that will be used by companies who see more benefit in trading with Iran than with the US. Such companies, smaller or bigger, must exist," he said.
Since the US president pulled Washington out of the historic nuclear deal, European countries have been scrambling to ensure that Iran gets enough economic benefits to persuade it to stay in the deal. The remaining parties have vowed to stay in the accord.
Tehran has conditioned its stay in the deal to practical European strides to make sure Iran’s dividends from the deal would not be affected when US sanctions "snap back" in August.
The first group of sanctions on Iran’s automotive sector, gold trade, and other industries will “snap back” on August 4. Further sanctions on oil and transactions with the central bank of Iran will come into effect November 6.
Reuters, Sputnik, and Press TV contributed to this story.