BRUSSELS, March 6 (Rahnuma): The Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will hold its first meeting in Vienna on Wednesday since the establishment of the European Union’s (EU) so-called special purpose vehicle designed to facilitate trade with Iran, the EU said on Tuesday.
The meeting will be attended by China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and Iran. Absent will be the United States, which endorsed the nuclear deal with Tehran during the Obama administration but withdrew from it under President Donald Trump in spite of the EU’s repeated calls for it to remain in the deal.
Since the U.S.’ withdrawal last May, some other countries involved, including major European powers such as Germany, France and Britain, have tried to keep the deal alive.
At the end of January, the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Britain launched the special purpose vehicle (SPV) to secure trade with Iran and skirt the U.S.’ anti-Iran sanctions after Washington pulled out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal.
By launching the SPV mechanism, the three European countries reiterated “their resolute commitment and continued efforts to preserve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action”.
They also reaffirmed that “their efforts to preserve the economic provisions of the JCPOA are conditioned upon Iran’s full implementation of its nuclear-related commitments, including full and timely cooperation with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency).”
The Iranian nuclear issue has long been a thorn in transatlantic relations, and the division between the two allies was looming large during February’s Middle East conference in Warsaw.
The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, did not attend the Warsaw conference, which was co-organized by Poland and the U.S. and which has “widened divisions among EU member states,” according to Robert Czulda, an assistant professor of Middle East studies at the University of Lodz in Poland.
“The absence of high-ranking officials of the EU shows that the EU’s policy towards Iran differs” from that of the U.S., Czulda told Xinhua in an interview in February.