IranImam Ali KhameneiLeaders of UmmahMiddle East

Envoy reflects on Leader’s warning of JCPOA-enabled Western meddling

A high-ranking Iranian diplomat reflects on a warning recently issued by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei about the West’s intention to use the 2015 nuclear deal to enable interference in the country’s affairs.

Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s permanent ambassador to Vienna-based international organizations, made the remarks in an interview published on Ayatollah Khamenei’s official website, Khamenei.ir, on Wednesday.

He referred to the warning issued by Ayatollah Khamenei on Wednesday, during the Leader’s last meeting with the outgoing Iranian administration’s officials. 

During the meeting, the Leader cited the administration’s experience of dealing with the West on the issue of the nuclear agreement as an important case in point that had clearly shown “trust in the West does not work and will not work [in the future either].”

West’s new ‘condition’

Ayatollah Khamenei noted to the outgoing officials how the Western side had been trying — during the recent talks concerning the nuclear deal — to set up a condition in the deal that would turn into an excuse for the West’s subsequent interference in Iran’s affairs.

Since May, Iran has been attending talks in the Austrian capital with the remaining signatories of the agreement, except the United States, in order to explore the prospect of the deal’s potential revival following severe sabotage by Washington. 

The US left the agreement, which is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in 2018. It then reimposed the inhumane sanctions that the deal had partially lifted and started forcing other countries into abiding by the coercive economic measures too. Its threesome European allies in the accord—the UK, France, and Germany—were quick to align themselves with Washington’s new approach. 

This is while both Washington’s withdrawal from the JCPOA, and its reversal of the sanctions are strictly prohibited under the international law, given the deal’s multilateral nature, and the fact that it has been ratified by the UN Security Council.

The Western parties have, however, been refusing to either admit or try to remedy the disservice they have been doing to the deal. 

In a move, pointed out by the Leader during the meeting, they have even been trying to advance a provision that could pave the way for their meddling in the Islamic Republic’s affairs.

Gharibabadi went on to offer some details about the controversial provision and the reasons why it was completely unnecessary.

The West alleges that the so-called provision “guarantees the JCPOA’s nuclear non-proliferation” goals and also mandates certain “trust-building measures” among the Persian Gulf region’s countries, the Iranian envoy said.

This is while there is no need for either, the envoy said. The nuclear deal has its own timetables that ensure implementation of its purposes, he said, adding the other demand runs strictly counter to the talks’ agenda too. 

Iran’s missile work, regional influence target of West’s new pressure tactics

Therefore, the Iranian side roundly rejected the proposal since this insistence “showed that they still consider the nuclear agreement to be a bridge enabling their interference in irrelevant issues such as Iran’s missile work and its regional affairs,” noted the diplomat.

“The purpose they seek through this is to start addressing these [irrelevant] issues [on various occasions] and consider them to be indivisible parts of the nuclear deal, and [therefore] lay the groundwork for their interference in these areas,” Gharibabadi wrote.

Thus, wherever, the Western side stopped short of its goals, it would be able to start blaming Iran and begin trying to put it under more pressure, he cautioned.

The official echoed the Leader’s remarks during the Wednesday meeting that such insistence on the part of the Americans had come while they, themselves, had “refused to retrace even one step towards reversing their adversarial stance concerning Iran.”

Among many other things, the diplomat said, they conditioned the lifting of some of the sanctions and the removal of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) from their so-called blacklist on Iran’s resigning itself to the provision.

Neither did they agree to recognize an overdue end to an embargo on sales of conventional weapons to Iran, nor approve of lifting their bans on more than 500 Iranian natural and artificial persons, the envoy also underscored.

Iran’s counter-approach

Gharibabadi went on to delineate Iran’s counter-approach in the face of the West’s attempted inroads. 

He said that during the whole time while the West had been either violating its commitments to the deal or trying to bring Iran under new pressure, the positions adopted by the country’s Islamic establishment and a law ratified by Majlis (the Parliament) mandating further remedial nuclear steps on the part of the Islamic Republic had, in turn, improved the country’s standing in the talks.

Now, faced with the West’s new pressure tactics, the country would try, on the one hand, to guard its improved standing, and advance its interests on the other, Gharibabadi said.

Towards the purpose, the country would never lose sight of the fact that it was the US that began compromising the JCPOA in the first place, “so care should be exercised for the complainant and the defendant’s rolls not to be switched here,” the envoy added.

Besides, the Islamic Republic prioritizes insistence on the practical and verifiable removal of the sanctions on its agenda, and also tries to ensure that the US would never be able to redeploy the sanctions weapon against it either, he said.

Thirdly, Tehran would resolutely stand by its assertion that neither the talks nor the nuclear deal are allowed to feature any irrelevant subject matters such as Iran’s defensive missile program or its regional influence.

“No Iranian official or institution stands against achievement of a good deal that would bring about practical removal of the sanctions. However, given the past experience, one should tread more vigilantly and more perceptively,” Gharibabadi said in conclusion.

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