Iran counter-measures underway over JCPOA breach: Zarif



Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the country has started taking countermeasures over a recent US violation of a 2015 multilateral nuclear accord.

He made the remarks after a meeting on Monday between senior Ministry officials and the Iranian Parliament (Majlis)’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee.

Known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the accord between Iran and six other countries, including the United States, removed all nuclear-related sanctions against Iran in exchange for some limitations on the Iranian nuclear program.

Tehran has verifiably been committed to its obligations as per the agreement, but the US Congress has voted to renew a piece of legislation against Iran that has been deemed by Iranian officials as a violation of the nuclear accord.

In reaction, President Hassan Rouhani earlier issued a directive to the Foreign Ministry and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) to take certain retaliatory measures.

He ordered the AEOI to plan work on nuclear propulsion devices to be used in sea transport and the Foreign Ministry to address the breach of the accord thorough legal and international channels.

“Requisite measures have gone underway on the part of the AEOI and the Ministry,” Zarif said. “In subsequent stages, too, we will submit to the opinion of the high council for monitoring the JCPOA.”

He was referring to the council tasked with assessing the implementation of the accord by all parties to the contract and take decisions on a discretionary basis should it detect any violations. It comprises Rouhani, Zarif, Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani, AEOI chief Ali Akbar Salehi, Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan, and Saeed Jalili, a former nuclear negotiator and Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei’s representative to the council.

‘JCPOA commission to meet in Jan.’

The Iranian top diplomat was also cited by Iranian MP as saying during the meeting that the Joint Commission, the international mechanism monitoring the implementation of the JCPOA, which gathers the representatives of the signatories to the deal, is to meet in January at Iran’s request to address Washington’s contravention of the deal.

MP Hossein Naqavi Hosseini said Zarif also said that the deal has empowered Iran with legal options to take in the event it was breached and that the country does not need to refer the case to the UN Security Council.

‘Iran can readily restore nuclear activities halted’

Separately, Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the AEOI, said that, if need be, Iran can resume those nuclear activities that it has ceased under the agreement.

“Iran has the requisite capacities if the need arises for it to take retrograde steps to where it used to stand and even much further beyond that point,” he said, reminding, “The opposite parties are aware of our capacities, too.”

Kamalvandi also announced that Iran has signed the first two documents needed to join the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), an international nuclear fusion research and engineering megaproject.

A third document remains. “We hope to join this expansive international project upon signing the third document,” Kamalvandi said.

The official concluded by noting that Iran had over the past months sold 70 metric tons of heavy water but would be selling 20 metric tons each year due to a glut in the market.

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