(Persia Digest) - The US measures will hit the ordinary people of Iran, former UK foreign secretary said on Wednesday.

'It is not a surprise and it is consistent with the approach the US government has been taking,' Jack Straw said while commenting about the new rounds of US sanctions against Iran.

IRNA reports that the US on Monday announced it will not renew exemptions after May 2 for the eight countries that continued to buy Iranian energy. Greece, Italy, Turkey, Iraq, Taiwan, South Korean, Japan and India were given waivers from the restored US sanctions, also known as the Significant Reduction Exemption (SRE) last year to purchase oil, gas and condensates from Tehran under the condition they significantly reduce their imports.

Speaking to Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), he expressed his strong opposition to the US' unilateral withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal, known also as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The UK political figure described the US move as 'an attempt to impoverish the Iranian people', noting that these measures very rarely hit the elites of Iran but will hit the ordinary people of the country.

'I think the European countries do not buy very much oil from Iran and are not a very big customer,' he added while answering a question regarding the EU silence towards the new US sanctions against Iran's oil exports.

Elaborating the view of European sides of the JCPOA, Straw said that the UK along with Germany and France are not only firmly committed to the JCPOA, but they are also working very hard to set up the Special Purpose vehicle (SPV).

'I know that there is frustration in Iran about the time it is taking, but the process for establishment of SPV is complicated,' he noted, adding that a seminar on INSTEX will be held next Monday in the UK Department for International Trade.

The Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges INSTEX is a special-purpose vehicle established in January 2019 by France, Germany and the United Kingdom to facilitate non-dollar trade with Iran.

Elsewhere in his remarks, he referred to the EU's strong support for JCPOA and noted that it is unusual that most powerful European countries so strongly and actively oppose the US government.

Straw described the US measures against Iran as a power game, adding that US President Donald Trump, White House national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are going to undermine the Iranian economy as far as they can.

European countries led by the UK, the Germany and the France are strongly opposed to that and they are doing what they can do to counter what the US is doing, he stressed.

'The fundamental problem that remains is that the most international trade particularly, oil is dominated by dollar,' Straw said while explaining the difficulties caused by the US sanctions.

Commenting about the possible withdrawal of Iran from the JCPOA, he said that if Iran withdraws the deal, it will lead to significant diplomatic isolation of Iran since it has got a significant diplomatic support from France, Germany and the US and the EU as a whole.

'I understand the frustration taking place in Iran but the UK, France and Germany are hardly doing what they can do,' Straw noted.


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He said that 'there is still both financial and political gain for Iran but the political gain from the JCPOA for Iran is very considerable.'

Europe's full commitment to the JCPOA has been made very much harder after President Trump's unilateral decision, but they are not the choosing of the European Union, that's the difficulty, Straw added.

He noted that the calculations which Iran will need to make are to see where its best interest lies and taking to the deal is where the best interest lies, in my view.

Straw cautioned Iran about confrontation with the US, adding that confrontation with the US will be a serious error by Iran and the options for Iran are limited because of the power the US exercises over the world economy and the alliances it has on the mainland with the many of the {Persian} Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia, supporting it.

'If Iran enters conflict with Washington, It will play into the hands of the hawks in the US,' he added.

The Iran nuclear deal was signed between Iran, the US, Germany, France, the UK, Russia and China in Switzerland in July 2015, the negotiating team was awarded the second class Order of Merit and Management for his role in the intensive talks.

The US left the nuclear agreement last May and restored two rounds of economic sanctions on Iran. Washington is also trying to bring Iran oil sales to zero by not renewing the sanctions waivers to the eight countries who depend on the Iranian crude.

Despite the US withdrawal, Iran has stuck to the agreement as confirmed in 12 consecutive reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Russia, China, Germany, France and the UK have said they will stay in the deal as long as Iran remains there.

The three European signatories, also known as the E3, put in place in January a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) to help trade of non-sanctioned goods with Iran. However, the mechanism hasn’t been functional yet.

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