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Iran nuclear deal joint commission meets in Vienna without US

Iran nuclear deal joint commission meets in Vienna Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Vienna, Austria Mar 07, 2019, 11.46 AM (IST)

The Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) held its first meeting in Vienna on Wednesday since the establishment of the European Union's (EU) so-called special purpose vehicle (SPV) designed to facilitate trade with Iran.

The meeting was hosted by Helga Schmid, Secretary General of the European External Action Service, and attended by representatives from China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and Iran.

The meeting was held without 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 in May last year, some other countries involved, including major European powers such as Germany, France, and Britain, have tried to keep the deal alive.

In a statement after the meeting, all parties reiterated their commitments to upholding and implementing the Iran nuclear deal and enhancing coordination in this regard. Fu Cong, head of the Department of Arms Control of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called for unity and efforts by all parties to push for the implementation of the deal.

At the end of January, the foreign ministers of France, Germany, and Britain launched the special purpose vehicle 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, or the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), the three European countries reiterated "their resolute commitment and continued efforts to preserve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action".

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said Iran will establish a mirror structure this month and hopes the two mechanisms can work with each other.

"We hope that in the coming weeks, INSTEX would become operational. This is for all the goods and commodities, not only humanitarian goods but maybe it started from humanitarian, in order to set the patterns for doing business with Iran," said Araghchi.

Story highlights

The meeting was held without 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.