JCPOA members resolved to stand up to U.S. exit: Iran

Getty Images

The plan to shut down the critical shipping lane is said to be endorsed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who, along with other top Iranian officials, has been working on contingency plans to combat USA economic sanctions on Tehran following President Donald Trump's decision to walk away from the nuclear agreement. Further sanctions on oil and transactions with the central bank of Iran will come into effect November 6.

In another phone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron late on Thursday, Rouhani described Paris' efforts to save the nuclear deal as "positive" but noted that "Europe's proposed package for keeping up cooperation in the JCPOA does not meet all our expectations".

Despite the USA threat to penalise companies and banks that do business with Iran, the remaining signatories said they would work to promote investment and trade.

The Iranian president has stressed the importance of fulfilling Tehran's demands for the continuation of the Islamic Republic's cooperation with the remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Iran is continuing to export oil despite United States attempts to prevent them from doing so, and there is no reason to think they're suddenly going to commit a series of acts of war in the Strait of Hormuz just to give the U.S. a pretext to attack them.

"These initiatives are aimed at preserving the nuclear deal which is in the security interest of all", said the joint statement read out by European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

"Maintaining access to these markets is a quasi life-or-death issue for the [bank]" because it has $120 billion of bonds held by investors worldwide that must be continually rolled over and refinanced, Director-General Bertrand de Mazieres said in May.

"The participants recognized that, in return for the implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments, the lifting of sanctions, including the economic dividends arising from it, constitutes an essential part of the JCPOA", Mogherini said.

She noted that such cooperation would be "through direct bilateral efforts and through engagement with global partners in order to encourage them to follow the same policies and to establish similar mechanisms in their economic relations with Iran".

Three European nations along with Russian Federation and China vowed at the meeting to keep the energy exporter plugged into the global economy despite the United States withdrawal and threat of renewed sanctions, including on Iran's key crude oil exports.

"We must put in place measures that allow Iran to trade as long as it meets its commitments", he told RTL radio in France, cautioning that the new steps may take until November when numerous sanctions take effect.

Lavrov urged new ways of trading with Iran if Washington restores sanctions against Tehran.

Trump said he was unilaterally pulling out of the deal negotiated by his predecessor because he felt it wasn't strong enough and didn't cover other issues of concern to the US and its allies, such as Iran's military influence in the Middle East and a ballistic missile program.

"We advise businesses that want to keep investing (in Iran), we want to keep payment systems open, and we want to build security through widening the mandate of the European Investment Bank", he said.