“As of July 7, the Arak reactor would be restored to its former condition, which they (other parties) used to claim was ‘dangerous’ and could produce plutonium” if the other deal partners fail to fully act on their commitments under the accord, Rouhani said at a Wednesday cabinet meeting.
The agreement was initially reached between the P5+1 group of states — the United States, the UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany — and Iran in Vienna in July 2015. It is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Under the JCPOA, Iran agreed to redesign the 40-megawatt research reactor, which is located in the central Iranian Markazi Province, to cut its potential output of plutonium.
Rouhani said Iran’s decision concerning the reactor could only be reversed “if they (the other signatories) act on all of their commitments concerning the facility.”
The fate of the deal has been in doubt since last May, when the US pulled out and reinstated the anti-Iran sanctions that it had lifted under the document.
Bowing to Washington’s pressure, Europe has been throwing only verbal support behind the agreement ever since, refusing to guarantee the Islamic Republic’s business interests in the face of American bans despite being contractually obliged to do so.
The decision concerning the reactor is among the countermeasures, which Iran began this May in reaction to the US’s withdrawal and the other parties’ failure to keep their side of the agreement.
Rouhani further said Iran would, in addition, surpass the limit placed by the nuclear agreement on the level of purity of the uranium it produces when the July 7 deadline set by Tehran for the remaining deal partners expires.
“The level of uranium enrichment will no longer stay at 3.67 percent,” he said. “This commitment [taken under the nuclear deal] will be set aside, and we will enhance [the enrichment level] to whatever amount, which we deem necessary and need.”
Iran notifies deal partners of suspension of some commitmentsIran informs the remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal of its decision to suspend the implementation of some of its JCPOA commitments.
‘Fear fire? Don’t start a flame!’
The chief executive also commented on US President Donald Trump’s reaction to Iran’s recent move to exceed the 300-kilogram limit on its low-enriched uranium production as part of its nuclear responses.
Reacting to the nuclear measure, Trump had said Tehran was “playing with fire.”
“If the US is so afraid of the word ‘fire,’ it should not start a flame then,” Rouhani said, reminding, “This fire could only be doused by returning to commitments and United Nations Security Council resolutions.” The JCPOA was ratified in the form of Security Council Resolution 2231 upon conclusion.
‘Worst deal? Why blame Iran then?’
He also referred to Trump’s hostile stance on the JCPOA, which the US president has, on several occasions, called the “worst deal ever.”
If Washington considers the nuclear deal to be a bad one, what was the reason behind its unease at Iran’s suspending its commitments to it? Rouhani asked. Similarly, if the deal can be rated as a good pact and Iran is advised to remain a part of it, “why do the US and Europe [themselves] fail to observe it?” he also questioned.
Rouhani further said Iran’s retaliatory actions were “never emotional” in nature, but meant to preserve the deal by prompting others to honor their obligations.
The countermeasures would be reversed as soon as the other partners begin to observe to their contractual commitments, he added.
Zarif: Europe duties far exceed INSTEX
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who had also joined the meeting, told reporters afterwards that the Europeans have undertaken 11 commitments to the country under the JCPOA.
These include Iran’s oil sales, which the US has been trying to block through the sanctions, secure financial returns from the sales and investment in Iran, as well as facilitation of transport, aviation, and shipping activities involving the country, he noted.
Zarif described the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX)— which Britain, France, and Germany announced in January to enable non-dollar trade with Iran — as just a prelude to implementation of the 11-fold commitments.
The JCPOA obliges the European partners to prove their commitment to the nuclear deal in action, Zarif said, adding that the Islamic Republic would commit to the agreement in exactly the same way as those countries would.
“If Europe commits to the JCPOA, we will do so, too,” he stated.
The top diplomat also commented on Trump’s “playing with fire” remarks.
“If he (Trump) feels entitled to issue such a reaction, he should first reverse [the US’s] violation of the JCPOA and its withdrawal from it as well as the illegal sanctions that are tantamount to economic terrorism against 82 million Iranians,” Zarif said.