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Iran Not Exiting Nuclear Deal Despite Setback On EU Oil Trade Mechanism

Iran is not preparing to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Wednesday, dismissing interpretations of comments from an Iranian official earlier this week.

On Monday, Iran’s deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi was quoted as saying that “If Europeans give in [to US pressures] they will call into question their sovereignty, credibility, and security,” referring to the European Union (EU) efforts to create a payment mechanism to keep trade with Iran, including oil trade.

“If Europe thinks that the West Asia region is safe without the JCPOA, it can wait and see,” Araqchi said, without elaborating further.

The EU has been trying to create a special purpose vehicle (SPV) that would allow the bloc to continue buying Iranian oil and to keep trading in other products with Iran now that the U.S. sanctions on Tehran have returned. The idea behind the SPV is to have it act as a clearing house into which buyers of Iranian oil would pay, allowing the EU to trade oil with Iran without having to directly pay the Islamic Republic.

But weeks after the U.S. sanctions on Iran snapped back, the SPV is not yet operational and reports have had it that the undertaking is very complicated and politically sensitive. The bloc is also said to be struggling with the set-up, because no EU member is willing to host it for fear of angering the United States, the Financial Times reported recently, citing EU diplomats.

Referring to interpretations that Araqchi’s words were a signal that Iran could be readying to pull out of the nuclear deal, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qassemi said that “these rumors are certainly false, baseless and purposeful.”

“They are created by certain domestic and foreign circles with destructive intentions and are aimed at making people worried, creating baseless tensions and negatively impacting the economy and people’s livelihood,” the spokesman noted in a statement from the foreign ministry.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that Iran is selling and will continue to sell its oil, with or without U.S. waivers.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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