IranMiddle East

Iran countermeasures legal, meant to maintain balance of nuclear deal: FM Zarif

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the countermeasures Iran began to take one year after the United States’ withdrawal from a 2015 nuclear agreement are legal and aimed at preserving the balance of the multilateral deal, reiterating that they can be reversed in case the Washington returns to compliance with its obligations.

“If the US lifts its illegal sanctions [against Iran] and implements its obligations as per the JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), Iran will also reverse all its remedial steps,” Zarif said in a phone call with his Finnish counterpart, Pekka Haavisto, on Wednesday.

He added that despite the US’s breach of the JCPOA, its imposition of “cruel and illegal” sanctions on Iran and inaction of the European parties to the deal, Tehran remained fully compliant with the nuclear agreement for one year.

The Islamic Republic’s countermeasures in response to Washington’s pullout were in conformity with the JCPOA and meant to restore its balance, the top Iranian diplomat said.

The JCPOA was signed between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries — the US, UK, France, Russia and China plus Germany — after years of diplomacy and intensive negotiations. The fate of the landmark deal, however, remains unclear since May 2018, when the US under ex-president Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out and re-imposed the sanctions lifted by the accord.

Under pressure from the US, the European parties likewise failed to live up to their commitments under the JCPOA and shield business with Iran against the American sanctions, prompting Tehran to resort to its legal rights stipulated in Article 36 of the deal and suspend parts of its commitments in retaliation.

Iran says the new US administration needs to take the first step towards the deal — if it seriously wants to rejoin the JCPOA — by lifting the sanctions that the former team at the White House restored against the Islamic Republic.

Iranian officials say once Iran can verify the sanctions removal, it will reverse its countermeasures.

A senior Iranian security official told Press TV on Wednesday on condition of anonymity that the US needs to lift the sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic during the administrations of former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump before Tehran reverses its countermeasures and returns to full compliance with the JCPOA.

The source added that in addition to sanctions imposed on Iran by the hawkish Trump administration, the US needed to lift the Obama-era sanctions, including the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) and the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

‘Diplomacy should be give more chances’

The Finnish foreign minister, for his part, said his country supports the JCPOA, stressing the importance of giving more chances to diplomacy to settle the ongoing challenges on the nuclear issue.

Haavisto also called for the expansion of political, economic, health, consular and research cooperation with Tehran and invited his Iranian counterpart to take part in a meeting of foreign ministers of the EU member states in Helsinki.

Meanwhile, in a phone conversation between the Iranian foreign minister and his Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi, on the same day, the two sides discussed ways to improve mutual relations and the latest regional and international developments, including the JCPOA.

Zarif welcomed the expansion of Tehran-Tokyo ties and said the Islamic Republic is ready to return to its JCPOA commitments if the other side fulfills its obligations and lifts the sanctions.

The top Iranian diplomat said Tehran plays a constructive role in curbing regional crises and outlined various measures taken by the country, including cooperation with the UN secretary general’s representative for Yemen, to this effect.

Motegi also stressed the importance of strengthening relations between the two countries and said his country supports the JCPOA and its full implementation.

Back to top button