TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Zarif made the remarks while addressing reporters in Tehran on Monday after attending a session at the Iranian Parliament’s Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy in which he briefed the lawmakers on the current state of the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The United States has ramped up pressure on Iran after US President Donald Trump withdrew Washington in May from the landmark nuclear agreement, reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries in 2015, and decided to re-impose unilateral sanctions against Tehran.
Under the deal, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.
The top Iranian diplomat said the European countries have so far cooperated with Iran for the implementation of the JCPOA, including by activating the Blocking Statute and allowing the European Investment Bank (EIB) to finance or encourage medium and small enterprises to work with Iran.
“If these measures are to be fruitful, the Europeans need to be prepared to take their interests with respect to Iran, the region and global order into consideration, so that the Americans will not be able to impose their own views on others. In fact, they must be ready to pay a price,” Zarif pointed out.
He added, “Europeans have been very good in declaring their positions [on the JCPOA], but to pay that price, they need to make a decision and they have only a limited time for that decision and cannot wait forever.”
“The JCPOA succeeded in changing the securitized atmosphere against Iran into an atmosphere of isolation against the law-breaking Americans within the new US administration,” Iran's top diplomat said, adding, “Therefore, if Europeans want to guarantee their long-term interests, they must be ready to pay the price.”
In defiance of warnings from the European Union, the JCPOA signatories and many international players, President Trump signed an executive order on August 6 re-imposing a first round of sanctions on Iran, which were lifted under the nuclear deal, to levy "maximum economic pressure" on the Islamic Republic.
Earlier this month, the European Union threatened to impose sanctions on companies that stop doing business with Iran in compliance with the US sanctions snapback mechanism.
“If EU companies abide by US secondary sanctions, they will, in turn, be sanctioned by the EU,” Nathalie Tocci, an aide to the 28-nation bloc’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said.
Iran's First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri said on Sunday that Tehran is looking for solutions to continue selling its crude oil after the United States re-imposed its sanctions on the country’s energy sector in early November.
Speaking in an interview with IRNA, Jahangiri noted that European countries have told Iran's Foreign Ministry that they will be taking measures before US sanctions come into effect against the country's oil and banking sectors to make up for any possible losses that Tehran may suffer.