In a high-level meeting yesterday, Turkey and the European Union (EU) issued a joint statement to reiterate their commitment to maintain the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which was adopted in 2015 and began implementation in January 2016.
"We agreed on the importance of maintaining the JCPOA and preserving the economic benefits for Iran arising from sanctions-lifting under the Agreement," the statement issued following the Turkey-EU High Level Political Dialogue Meeting read.Also known informally as Iran nuclear deal, JCPOA was seen as a great step toward ensuring peace and stability in the Middle East when the P5+1 countries – the U.S., the U.K., France, China, Russia and Germany – along with the EU agreed to relieve sanctions imposed on Iran on the condition that the country curb its nuclear capacity. After nearly three years, U.S. President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that his country would withdraw from the agreement, which took effect during the term of his predecessor Barack Obama. The U.S.'s allies across the Atlantic – Germany, France and the U.K.– criticized Trump's decision and they have been working on a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to facilitate the payments for the EU-Iran trade.
While the SPV was initially planned to begin operations on Nov. 4 when U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil took effect, no announcement as to its realization has been made so far as European countries do not accept housing the mechanism, fearing U.S. retribution. The first round of sanctions began to be effective on Aug. 6, prohibiting the Iranian government from buying U.S. dollars, conducting trade transactions in gold or other valuable metals and investing in Iranian debt. These sanctions also target Iran's steel and aluminum sectors as they forbid the country's trade of aluminum, steel, graphite, coal and certain types of software.