"We agreed, though it was not easy given that the European troika, Russia, and Iran often have very different interests, that the permanent mechanism of the joint commission at the level of experts will work on a regular basis to review options that will allow keeping all the obligations under the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] despite the US decision, and maintaining trade and economic ties with Iran… independently from the US," Lavrov said.
The minister also expressed doubts that US sanctions policy against Iran would be changed.
"Yes, the threat of extra-territorial sanctions, which Washington is imposing in the coming month as the first wave, followed by the ban on buying Iranian oil as the second wave of sanctions in November, has already been voiced by Washington. Everyone agrees that this practice is absolutely illegitimate. But this is the policy that is unlikely to be changed. There will be an intensive fight in trade and economic and political spheres. The permanent expert mechanism will be working out trade solutions that will not create problems for economic actors of those countries who remain committed to the JCPOA," he added.
Lavrov stressed the importance of comprehensive trade solutions and methods toward Iran.
"It is of utmost importance to have these trade solutions and methods comprehensive enough because Iran agreed on this deal in exchange for a full liberalization of those conditions that existed during the sanctions regime. These agreements are put forward in the final statement of the meeting. It also mentions the areas that we are going to work on in order to have a trade and economic partnership with Iran independent from the United States," the minister said.
According to the top official, Russia, China, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom had once again decried the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in strongest terms and described it as ungrounded and politicized.
The minister noted that Iran had fulfilled thoroughly all its obligations under the JCPOA and that the agreement had been working efficiently since it was signed in 2015.
"This deal has been working efficiently throughout all the three years. Iran fulfilled all its obligations thoroughly, and it was and still is verified by the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency]. Therefore, everyone agreed once again that this step by the United States was not based on any real reasons apart from the desire to politicize the situation around Iran again and to dictate to Tehran new conditions that have no relation to the problems that existed around the nuclear program of Iran," the minister added.
Lavrov also highlighted that the IAEA had an unprecedented access to Iran's nuclear facilities, which could have been related to the country's nuclear program.
"At the moment, Iran is checked by the IAEA more than any other country. The IAEA has an unprecedented access to all the facilities that could have been related to the military side of the nuclear program. Jeopardizing such an important agreement that reinforces non-proliferation regime is risky and short-sighted," the minister said.
Trade With Iran Without Using US Dollar
Lavrov also mentioned that Paris was considering the introduction of payment methods that would allow abandoning the use of the US dollar in its trade with Tehran.
"Our French colleagues explained that they cannot do anything about it. What they can do is jointly and individually work out such forms of trade and payments that will not be dependent on the US dollar and that will be used by companies who see more benefit in trading with Iran than with the US. Such companies, smaller or bigger, must exist," Lavrov told reporters after the ministerial meeting.
The Russian foreign minister noted that EU states sought to implement policies which would allow meeting both their economic interests and political obligations.
Iran Intends to Continue Cooperation With IAEA
According to Lavrov, Iran will remain committed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and will continue cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), despite formally having the right to break its obligations after the US unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal.
"In reply to the calls from all the participants, Iran confirmed its commitment to its obligations under the JCPOA. This means Iran will continue cooperating with the IAEA, though the Iranian minister noted that after the US unilateral step aimed at breaking the deal Tehran formally has the reason and the right to… exit the deal, but they will not apply it… I think this is a responsible stance, and I hope it will be kept," he said.
The statement also recalled that the European Union was currently in the midst of amending its Blocking Statute, which protected the EU firms from the application of sanctions by a third country, in order to exempt the European companies from complying with US sanctions against Iran.
On Friday, the foreign ministers of Iran, Russia, China, Germany and France, as well as the UK minister of state for the Middle East and the EU high representative for foreign and security policy, held a joint meeting in Vienna to discuss the future of the Iran nuclear deal, after the unilateral US withdrawal from it.
The JCPOA was signed by Iran, the European Union and the P5+1 group of countries — China, Germany, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The deal stipulated the gradual lifting of the anti-Iran sanctions in exchange for Tehran maintaining the peaceful nature of its nuclear program.
On May 8, 2018, US President Donald Trump announced that his country would exit the deal. In addition, Trump decided to reinstate the previously lifted sanctions on Iran. The unilateral move has been opposed by other signatories, which pledged commitment to the agreement.