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Parliamentary questions
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25 March 2020
Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Borrell
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-000223/2020

The EU is committed to preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which is critical for regional security, including de-escalation. This position was confirmed by the extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council on 10 January 2020.(1)

All parties to the JCPOA have repeatedly emphasised the key importance of full and effective implementation of the agreement by all sides. Following his recent visit to Tehran, High Representative/Vice-President Borrell, in his capacity as Coordinator of the Joint Commission, stated clearly the need for Iran ‘to return to full compliance with its nuclear commitments. However, Iran needs to be able to benefit economically from sanctions lifting’(2).

Iran remained fully compliant with the JCPOA for 14 months after the United States (US) withdrawal, as confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency reports(3). The EU has continuously expressed deep regret for the US withdrawal from the JCPOA, and the re-imposition of sanctions, and recognises that the lifting of sanctions is an essential part of the JCPOA.(4)

In this context, EU supported and welcomed the launch and operationalisation of the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) by France, Germany and the United Kingdom (E3), as initial shareholders. Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands and Norway have recently joined as shareholders, soon to be followed by Finland and Sweden(5). INSTEX is a unique undertaking designed to facilitate legitimate trade between EU and Iranian operators, while abiding by the highest standards in terms of anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.

INSTEX and its shareholders are continuing their intense efforts, in cooperation with their Iranian counterparts, to facilitate the first cluster of transactions.

(4)Sanctions imposed by the EU in view of the human rights situation in Iran, support for terrorism and other grounds (e.g. the war in Syria) are not part of the JCPOA and remain in place
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