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Iran Rejects West’s Demand to Stop Remedial Measures before Removal of Sanctions

Iran’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to Vienna-based International Organizations Kazzem Qaribabadi said that the western states should not expect Tehran to cease implementation of nuclear remedial measures while the country is still under the harshest sanctions.

“In reply to the request made by some delegations who asked Iran to cease implementation of its nuclear remedial measures, I would like to clearly state that while Iran is under brutal unilateral sanctions, it cannot be expected to stay idle and do nothing; one should not expect if anyone slaps on the right cheek, we should turn to him the other side as well,” Qaribabadi said, addressing the IAEA Board of Governors’ meeting on ‘Verification and Monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in Light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015)’ in Vienna on Wednesday.

“The remedial measures are evidently within Iran’s rights in strict accordance with the provisions of the JCPOA, which were taken in reaction to the non-compliance with their commitments by the US, EU and the E3 under the Deal,” he added.

In his comments, Qaribabadi said that three years have passed since the unwarranted unilateral decision of the United States to withdraw from the JCPOA, violate United States’ commitments therein, irresponsibly undermine UNSCR 2231 and abhorrently impose the “maximum pressure” policy to directly and adversely affect the normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran. “Former US president carelessly sacrificed well-established principle of international law, namely Pacta Sunt Servanda, on the altar of his administration’s self-righteousness. The extraterritorial dimensions of the US sanctions, which are in contradiction with international law, prevented even its European friends from implementing their commitments,” he added.

“A simple comparison between the reports of Director General under this agenda item in 2018 and the current report will manifest the difficulties generated as a result of that unjustifiable decision. All 15 quarterly reports of the Director General up to May 2018, and for a year after, clearly stated that Iran was in full compliance with the terms underlined under the JCPOA,” Qaribabadi said.

Noting that since sanction lifting part of the JCPOA and their effects constitute the essential basis of Iran’s consent to the deal in its entirety, the violations of the US rendered those parts of the deal void and effectively futile, he said, “Only one year after the persistent non-implementation of the deal by the US, Iran used its rights under the provisions of the same deal and introduced an incremental policy of partially ceasing implementation of its commitments under the JCPOA. Even in this situation, the Agency was able to verify and monitor the steps that Iran has taken in this regard, which was also labeled as being exceptional during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In the same vein, only after about two and a half years of continued proliferation of economic sanctions against different sectors of Iran’s economy by the U.S and lack of practical actions by the E3/EU in meeting their commitments, on 2nd December 2020 the Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Iran passed a law which required the Government to stop the implementation of all verification and monitoring activities beyond Iran’s Safeguards Agreement concluded with the

IAEA (CSA), including the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol (AP), in case of the continuation of non-compliance by the participants of the deal within two months after the entry into force of the law, Qaribabadi said.

“The requirements of the law were unfortunately not met and subsequently implementation of voluntary measures including the Additional Protocol was stopped, but as a result of intensive discussion with the Agency in good-will, a temporary bilateral Technical Understanding, compatible with the law passed by

Iran’s Parliament, was reached for a period of up to three months as of 21 February 2021. With the expiration of this Understanding on 24 May 2021, Iran decided not to extend the Technical Understanding this time,” he added.

“Meanwhile, reaffirming the continuation of stop of implementation of voluntary implementation measures including the Additional Protocol, Iran decided to continue recording and keep the data for a period of up to one more month. The new decision was aimed at providing another opportunity for making progress, and eventually concluding the bilateral technical negotiations with the Agency.  Iran, once again, for the third time, has opened a new window of opportunity, which needs to be seized both at political and technical levels,” the Iranian envoy said. 

He stated that Iran has engaged seriously and meaningfully in negotiations with the JCPOA participants, adding, “The 5th round of these talks was concluded last week. However, it is important that the outcome of these efforts secures enough assurances that all sanctions are lifted in a verifiable manner and we do not face, once again, the crisis situation in which the US withdraws from the agreement or abuse the mechanisms in the JCPOA and violates all its commitments therein while Iran is in full compliance with the provisions of the deal. It is yet to be observed whether the United States is serious enough and ready to abandon its addiction to use unilateral coercive measures, respect international law, implement its sanctions lifting commitments in a full and effective manner and take all necessary difficult decisions that this might entail. It is crucial that the US stop violations of its obligations under the deal and the UNSC Resolution 2231 without further delay and any pre-conditions.” 

“Iran, on its part, has consistently stated that it will reverse the remedial measures and restore implementation of its nuclear commitments, after other commitments, specifically the sanction lifting commitments enshrined in the JCPOA are implemented fully and effectively in a verifiable manner,” he added. 

“At this meeting, once again, almost all the Members of the Agency spoke in support of the preservation of the deal. My delegation is grateful to all who support the revitalization process of the JCPOA. I sincerely urge all relevant parties to contribute constructively, including inter alia through exercising measures to redress the situation, with the aim that these intensive diplomatic efforts would result in a constructive and agreeable outcome.”  

“Although this meeting is held in a hybrid format and time-limitation has been set for the statements, I feel much obliged to react to some of the allegations made under this agenda item by representative of Israeli regime; this is a regime which has not yet accepted even a slight percentage of cooperation with the Agency, and the so-called non-proliferation defenders of the world are closing their eyes to its situation. Israeli regime is a unique phenomenon. The indefensible record of this regime in non-accession to and non-compliance with all international norms and standards including in the area of non-proliferation and disarmament, leaves it with no option but to clean its dirty hands by blaming the others. The representative of such a regime is in no position to preach others on something they do not respect themselves,” Qaribabadi said.

“In reply to the request made by some delegations who asked Iran to cease implementation of its nuclear remedial measures, I would like to clearly state that while Iran is under brutal unilateral sanctions, it cannot be expected to stay idle and do nothing; one should not expect if anyone slaps on the right cheek, we should turn to him the other side as well,” he underlined.

“The remedial measures are evidently within Iran’s rights in strict accordance with the provisions of the JCPOA, which were taken in reaction to the non-compliance with their commitments by the US, EU and the E3 under the Deal,” Qaribabadi concluded.

In relevant remarks on May 31, Qaribabadi said a recent report by the IAEA testifies to the Iranian government’s implementation of the parliament law on strategic actions against sanctions.

“The recent report by the IAEA verifies Iran’s implementation of a strategic parliamentary law that widens the scope of the country’s nuclear countermeasures,” Qaribabadi made the remarks in Vienna about the quarterly report that the UN nuclear watchdog released on May 31.

According to the report, Iran has increased its peaceful nuclear stockpile to around 16 times the limit that has been specified in the 2015 nuclear agreement.

The measure has been taken according to the December 2020 law passed by parliament that tasked the administration with suspending more commitments under the nuclear deal.

The law, that is officially known as the Law on Strategic Action to Lift Sanctions and Protect the Interests of the Iranian Nation, was adopted in order to further Iran’s counter-steps in the face of the US’ and its European allies — the UK, France, and Germany’s — non-commitment to the nuclear deal.

The US, under former president Donald Trump, unilaterally withdrew participation in the agreement and re-imposed sanctions against Iran, which the accord had lifted.

The Trump administration subsequently launched what it touted as a campaign of “maximum pressure” against Iran, hoping to force the Islamic Republic to accept large-scale limits on its nuclear program and missile work, among other things.

The administration of US President Joe Biden has verbally renounced that policy and admitted to its failure, while expressing a willingness to return to the Iran deal. However, it has so far stopped short of taking any concrete steps to that end and retained the sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

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