FM spox rejects claims of SPV only covering humanitarian products

TEHRAN, Dec. 17 (MNA) – Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ghasemi said Mon. that the EU-Iran trade mechanism, aimed at bypassing US sanctions against Tehran, is not restricted to transactions regarding medicine and food products.

Bahram Ghasemi made the remark in his weekly press conference on Monday in response to a question about the credibility of the claims that the the Iran-EU trade mechanism, officially known as Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), will only meet Iran’s needs for medicine and food products in exchange for the country’s oil revenues.

“This mechanism has not been defined to only cover medicine and food products, and it must cover a range of transactions and economic and industrial cooperation, even investment,” Ghasemi stressed.

On Dec. 4, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also rejected the claims that the SPV will not cover oil sales and only includes humanitarian and food products, saying “Iran’s major export is oil” and the country’s oil sales is actually the focus of the EU’s promised trade mechanism.

The mechanism is part of the EU’s efforts to encourage Iran to remain in the nuclear deal following the unilateral withdrawal of the US back in May, by offering an alternative payment channel to keep trade flowing with Iran in defiance of US sanctions. According to EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, the mechanism will come into effect by the end of December.

Ghasemi went on to add that the US pressure for sanctioning Iran is not only directed at the West, but eastern countries are also under great pressure to stop doing business with Iran. The Iranian diplomat stressed, however, that “we are not sitting on our hands, and are pursuing our own solutions and strategies.”

About Iraq’s 45-day waiver granted by US over Iran sanctions to import gas and electricity, which will be in place until the end of December, Ghasemi said while the US would continue its futile attempts to undermine cooperation between Tehran and Baghdad by sending delegations, countries are now perceiving the US hostile policies with new perspectives and will make their own decisions independently.

He further stressed that economic cooperation between Iran and Iraq would expand in the future.

About Brexit, Ghasemi maintained that the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union will place the country in the same position as China and Russia in relation to Iran and the nuclear deal, adding that no major change would happen in Iran’s ties with the UK, and cooperation would continue the same as before with the four remaining parties to the JCPOA.

Noting Iran’s serious disagreements with EU on its missile program, Ghasemi said Iran cannot purchase security and weapons like other countries, and needs to rely on its own capabilities. The diplomat stressed that Iran’s policies regarding its missile program are clear and the program is not in conflict with the UN Security Council resolution 2231.

We will not hold any negotiations over our security issues, Ghasemi stressed.

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