Speaking on the fifth anniversary of the conclusion of the Iran deal on Wednesday, Rouhani said Iran diplomatically engaged six world powers to prove that it is a peace-seeking country and that the securitization of its nuclear program long attempted by the US and Israel is baseless.
“Since the beginning [of the diplomatic engagement], an evil triangle of Zionism, reactionism, and hard-liners in America were opposed [to diplomacy with Iran],” the Iranian president said, detailing attempts by the deal’s opponents to throw a wrench into the works as it was being negotiated and after its conclusion.
“America’s current regime was delusional, and with hard-liners at the helm, it was unable to foresee the consequences of its actions,” he said, a reference to the US President Donald Trump administration’s unilateral withdrawal from the Iran deal in 2018 with intense lobbying by Israel and Saudi Arabia.
The deal, named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was reached on July 14, 2015 between Iran and a group of countries then known as the P5+1 — which included the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany.
In May 2018, Trump unilaterally pulled his country out of the JCPOA and re-imposed the sanctions that had been lifted under the deal. He also imposed secondary sanctions on third parties that sought to do business with Iran, effectively targeting the European parties to the deal.
Verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran remained fully compliant with the JCPOA for an entire year, waiting for the co-signatories to honor their commitments and offset the impacts of the US withdrawal.
But, as the European parties continued to renege on their obligations, the Islamic Republic moved to scale down its commitment to the deal in a gradual format and based on the provisions of the deal itself that addressed a party’s legal rights in case of non-performance by other parties.
President Rouhani said the US had wanted to elicit a sudden Iranian withdrawal and then blame the deal’s failure on Tehran.
“Their objective was for Iran to be recorded in history as the party that broke the deal, meaning that America would do something and then Iran would put the entire JCPOA aside and withdraw from it, and they would say later that it was Iran that left the deal,” the Iranian president said.
“Iran’s artfulness and adroitness, since 2018, when America trampled on [its] political, moral, and legal obligations, was in not allowing the [American] plot to materialize and proving to the world that the main party to blame is the lawbreakers in America,” President Rouhani said.
President Rouhani said the United States’ own allies and a large part of the American nation now acknowledge that the US’s withdrawal from the Iran deal worked to the disadvantage of the American people and America’s friends.
On Tuesday, the European Union (EU) pledged to do everything possible” to preserve the landmark nuclear deal with Iran over the objections of Washington.
“We should not assume that an opportunity will arise again in the future for the international community to address Iran’s nuclear program in such a comprehensive manner,” he added.
Western countries had formerly accused Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program. Tehran long denied the allegation and ultimately negotiated with the six countries to prove it has a civilian program only. The JCPOA was the culmination of those negotiations.