INSTEX without capital is like a beautiful car without fuel: Iran

Iran’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations called on Saturday the European payment mechanism for trade with Iran, INSTEX, “a beautiful car without fuel”, saying it’s not enough at this stage.

“I personally believe that INSTEX in its current condition isn’t enough. This mechanism without money is like a beautiful car without fuel,” Iran’s ambassador to the UN Majid Takht Ravanchi told the media in New York on Saturday.  

"The Europeans asked us to remain in the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action]. We waited a year as they requested, but we told our European counterparts that they need to take tangible steps to maintain the nuclear deal. Mere statements in support of the pact doesn’t resolve our problems,” he added during the one-hour press briefing that was held at Iran’s permanent mission at the UN in New York. 

Germany, France and the UK, the three European signatories to the Iran nuclear deal of 2015, created a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for trade with Iran called Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) late January. The channel hasn’t had any financial transaction with Iran. 

“Since the US withdrawal from the JCPOA, the Europeans haven’t done anything tangible, that is, the JCPOA doesn’t function well. We can’t keep our end of the bargain unilaterally and not benefit from it,” Takht Ravanchi noted. 

On May 8, exactly one year after President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Iran announced it will reduce parts of its commitments within the pact, giving Europe 60 days to either normalize economic ties with Iran or Tehran will unveil the second phase of its reductions. 

“We can’t wait more. We are not threatening anyone. We haven’t ultimatums to others. We have told them our plans that if they don’t do anything, we will reduce our commitments. We will take new steps if they live up to their commitments or responsibilities,” added the Iranian permanent representative to the UN. 

Takht Ravanchi rejected guesses that Iran plans to leave the deal. “We have 10 days until the first steps and 60 days more for the second phase. This is different from us leaving the nuclear deal. We have said several times that if banking and other parts of the JCPOA are realized, Iran will return to its commitments,” he noted. 

“If this situation continues, it means that they don’t respect their commitments,” he mentioned. 

Iran set up and registered a counterpart to INSTEX called Special Trade and Financing Instrument between Iran and Europe (STFI) to pave the way for bilateral trade. 

Takht Ravanchi, who has very recently been appointed to Iran’s permanent representative to the UN, stressed that his country is ready to do the necessary cooperation in a bid to save the nuclear deal, reiterating that other signatories should also do their job as well. 

US anti-Iran moves 

“We believe the chaos in Persian Gulf is because of the US anti-Iran policies. The US left the JCPOA and sanctioned Iran. Sanctions, not extending the waivers, sending a naval group to the region are meant to provoke Iran,” he emphasized, stressing that “Iran has shown self-restraint so far”. 

Iran shot down a US spy drone in its airspace a month ago. “The American drone flew close to Iran’s borders. We gave warnings four times not to enter our airspace but when ignored those warnings and entered the Iranian airspace. We shot down the drone in our defense according to the UN charter article 51”.

 Iran has proposed regional talks in a bid to lower tensions with the US.

“When I met the UN Secretary General, I reminded him about his mission in Resolution 598. I asked him to use his powers meant to create a mechanism to maintain peace and security in the region under the UN umbrella,” said Takht Ravanchi.   

"Our region is wealthy. If Iran and its neighbors are in peace, everyone will benefit from Iran,” he mentioned. 

Takht Ravanchi said that the US “maximum pressure” won’t bring about results. 

“Some US authorities are seeking regime change in Iran and they want to achieve this through the maximum pressure campaign which has increased tensions in Iran-US and region’s relations,” the Iranian envoy said. 

He stressed that Iran’s decision to increase its enriched uranium stockpile to more than 300 kg within the JCPOA that has foreseen a process to export the enriched uranium.   

The Iranian diplomat accused the US of sanctioning export of the enriched uranium, saying the export was the only way that Iran not reach the cap.

He reiterated that Iran has never been seeking nuclear bomb. The Zionist regime has been having nuclear problems for many years now. But, doesn’t have security. Nukes don’t bring security for anyone. 

“According to the NPT, Iran has the right to enrich uranium as much as it wants. We are not looking for nukes. But, we will do whatever is necessary for scientific and success and development in new technologies,” he said.


US claim of talks 
Takht Ravanchi reminded the press that the US sanctioned Iran once again when Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo was in Iran. 

“The law of negotiations is respecting the other side. The Americans aren’t ready for this. They want to play the Big Brother. If they respect the Iranians, they will be respected and that if they attack, they will see firm response,” he said. 

Iran-China relations

“China is an important trade partner for Iran. We have good relations. I was there when Iranian and Chinese presidents met. There were good and constructive negotiations. China is an important regional and world player,” said Takht Ravanchi about the status of Iran’s relations with China. 

He said that China is continuing business with Iran and doesn’t recognize the US sanctions. 

The US president had asked east Asian countries to provide security for their own ships passing the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

“There haven’t been any problem in transport and transit during 100 years. The problem started when foreign forces came there. This isn’t a good move,” said Takht Ravanchi.


Iran-Russia ties
The Iranian representative to the US stressed that a nobody will benefit from a military conflict in the region, noting that no one can predict how many years such a conflict could last. 

Takht Ravanchi recalled Afghan and Iraq wars, saying there are problems 18 years after those conflicts. “I hope a war doesn’t take place in the region,” he reiterated. 

"Russia has always resisted the US unilateralism. Moscow has always supported the JCPOA. They have warned about the US military adventurism in the region," Takht Ravanchi said. 

He also rejected reports that Iran is looking for results of the 2020 presidential election in the US. 

News Code 190516

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