Iran says Europe is obliged to let it sell and ship oil

TEHERAN • Iran said yesterday that European nations still party to the 2015 nuclear deal are "obliged" to allow it to sell and ship oil, amid a stand-off with Britain over the seizure of tankers.

The deal over Iran's nuclear programme has begun to unravel since US President Donald Trump announced that the United States was withdrawing from the agreement last year and reimposing sanctions.

Iran has been pushing the European parties to the deal - Britain, France and Germany - to adhere to their commitments under the agreement, despite US pressure.

British authorities seized a tanker carrying Iranian oil off its territory of Gibraltar on July 4, a move Spain's foreign minister said was carried out at the request of the US.

"They (the European parties) have set out their commitments and announced them, they (include) the sale of Iran's oil, the transportation of Iran's oil, and the return of Iran's oil income," said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

"It is clear that today's tensions and problems are due to America's economic terrorism and Europe's inability to fulfil its commitments, which means going along with America's economic terrorism," he was quoted by state media as saying.

Mr Zarif's remarks come after a meeting in Vienna on Sunday of the remaining parties to the nuclear deal - the three European nations plus China and Russia.


In remarks broadcast on state television, the top Iranian diplomat described the talks as "challenging".

One year after the US pullout, Iran said in May it would begin scaling back its commitments, and it has since started increasing its stockpile of enriched uranium and the level of enrichment beyond the deal's limits.

Mr Zarif said Iran was ready to take a third step to reduce its commitments under the deal, unless the remaining parties fulfil theirs, as they reiterated in Vienna.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2019, with the headline 'Iran says Europe is obliged to let it sell and ship oil'. Subscribe