Tehran has never wanted to escalate tensions in the Middle East, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said during a meeting with the United Kingdom’s new ambassador to the Islamic Republic, Robert Macaire.
“Iran has never wanted to increase tensions in the region, nor did it want to create problems on international shipping routes, while at the same time, it will never renounce its right to export oil,” Rouhani wrote on his website.
During the meeting, Macaire handed over his credentials to Rouhani and said that London supports the agreement on Iran’s nuclear program and defends its implementation.
The Iranian president welcomed improving ties between Tehran and London and criticized the US’ exit from the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“Iran is always ready to develop relations with European countries, but now, after the US illegal withdrawal from the nuclear deal, the ball is in Europe’s court now, and the remaining time is limited,” Rouhani said.
Meanwhile, the US State Department has insisted that Washington will try to persuade its allies to stop buying oil from Iran.
According to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Washington is willing to impose sanctions on Russia, China and any other country that continues to buy oil from Iran. The US’ clash with the EU over the Iran deal has been consistently identified by FRN analysts as a crisis of Atlanticism.
In early May, Trump announced the US’ withdrawal from the agreement signed in 2015 by Iran, Russia, the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and European diplomacy chief Federica Mogherini.
Trump withdrew the US from the deal as he is defending Israel’s interests in the region. Knowing that the deal could potentially bring Iran closer to the European Union, he attempted to force his European partners from backing out of the deal, however, it has appeared to fail as Europe has shown no interest in withdrawing from the deal. This is especially the case as dozens of European companies have now invested in Iran.
In this context, Rouhani’s statement poses a firm ultimatum to the EU: European countries can either trail the US’ illegal actions, or seek to develop their own independent relations with Iran – either way, Rouhani insists, Iran will defend its sovereignty, and Europe is running out of time to decide for itself.