"It was a step forward, but it is still not enough and did not meet Iran’s expectations," Abbas Araqchi told reporters Friday after almost four hours of talks with senior diplomats from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
Iran’s permanent ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi, reiterated Araqchi’s frustrations Saturday talking to reporters at the U.N. headquarters in New York.
“We cannot continue to carry out our obligations under JCPOA single-handedly and not to benefit from it,” Takht-Ravanchi told reporters, June 29.
The nations that signed the nuclear deal in 2015, minus the United States, met in the Austrian capital as part of a last-ditch effort to save the accord after President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the agreement—Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—in May 2018.
The Trump administration then re-imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the deal.
Iran has now given European signatories a two-month ultimatum to help Iran navigate U.S. sanctions or, risk Tehran’s taking further steps to reduce its anti-nuclear obligations starting July 7, according to Press TV.
In early May, Iran suspended limits on its production of enriched uranium and heavy water, moves that don’t violate the multinational agreement, but signaled Tehran’s answer to Europe’s remaining silent on the deal.
While the JCPOA was fully in place, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) continually affirmed Iran was adhering to the agreement.
Araqchi told reporters, "The decision to reduce our commitments has already been made in Iran and we continue on that process unless our expectations are met."
"I don’t think the progress made today will be enough to stop our process but the decision will be made in Tehran," he added.
Iran says it will take the second step in reducing its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal more “firmly” if a European payment system designed to bypass sanctions proves to be "superficial."
In previous months, Europeans confirmed that the planned 'Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges' (INSTEX), is “operational” and the first transactions already processed. INSTEX is a payment mechanism designed by Germany, France and the United Kingdom to maintain trade with Iran and avoid U.S. sanctions on the Persian nation.
However, the Iranian official added that this was still insufficient because European countries were not buying Iranian oil.
"For INSTEX to be useful for Iran, Europeans need to buy oil or consider credit lines for this mechanism," otherwise the system is dysfunctional, said Araqchi.
The European Union also issued a statement, saying the special trade channel was up and running.
"France, Germany and the United Kingdom informed participants that INSTEX had been made operational and available to all EU member states and that the first transactions are being processed," said the statement.
Araqchi said all the parties in Vienna had agreed to hold a ministerial meeting "very soon."
China has rejected U.S. unilateral sanctions on Iran and those nations caught in the cross fire, saying it would import Iranian oil in defiance of Washington’s bans on Tehran.
The Trump administration told buyers of Iranian oil they must stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions, ending six months of waivers, which allowed Iran’s eight biggest buyers —Turkey, China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan—to continue importing limited volumes.
The U.S. has escalated its belligerency toward Iran in recent weeks sending a drone into Iranian airspace, which the nation quickly shot down. Trump said he called off missle attacks in retaliation.
"We do not accept this so-called zero policy of the United States," said Cong speaking on the sidelines of the Vienna meeting.