In Bulgaria, a senior Iranian diplomat cautions Europe against stepped-up attempts by the US to set up a coalition against Tehran, amid Washington’s plans to host an Iran-focused confab in Poland.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi made the remarks in a meeting with Bulgarian Member of the European Parliament Angel Dzhambazki in Sofia on Wednesday.
“Having failed to achieve its anti-Iran objectives on the United Nations’ stage, the US is now seeking to form a new coalition against Iran outside the UN’s framework,” said the official, warning, “The European countries should be vigilant in this regard.”
In an attempt to exert pressure on Iran, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced earlier this month that a so-called Middle East security conference would be held in the Polish capital, Warsaw, on February 13-14, with Iran high on the agenda.
Tehran condemned the confab as a “circus” and summoned Poland’s envoy to protest the European country’s plan to host the event.
The summit, however, got a cold welcome among European states. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has said she will not attend, while ministers from several European Union countries will likely skip the summit, the Wall Street Journal quoted officials as saying last month.
Pompeo’s announcement came amid European efforts to save a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal with Iran – which Washington unilaterally abandoned last May.
After leaving the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Washington unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against Iran. It has also been seeking to dissuade its European allies from protecting the JCPOA and paving the way for European firms to bypass the American sanctions and maintaining their business ties with Iran.
Last September, US President Donald Trump chaired a UN Security Council meeting, where he called on other countries to comply with the US bans on Tehran or face “severe consequences.”
The call, however, fell on deaf ears, with that session turning into a rebuke of Washington, itself, for abandoning the JCPOA.
The European parties to the deal are currently trying to launch the so-called Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), a payment mechanism meant to circumvent the US sanctions.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Araqchi appreciated Europe’s “political support” for the JCPOA, adding, however, that Iran expects the continent to take “practical measures” to save the JCPOA, which is “at stake” due to US policies.
Dzhambazki, for his part, underlined the need for keeping up support for the Iran nuclear agreement, which he said serves Europe’s interests.
He described Iran as a stable country in the restive Middle East region.
Additionally on Wednesday, Araqchi held talks with Vice President of the Bulgarian National Assembly Emil Hristov, Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zakharieva and Deputy Foreign Minister Georg Georgiev.
The officials all stressed enhanced Tehran-Sofia ties in different fields and voiced support for the JCPOA.
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