Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Islamic Republic will give a “response fitting” any stance adopted by US President Donald Trump on the landmark nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries more than two years ago.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran pursues its policies in the region irrespective of the blabber of others,” Zarif told reporters on Sunday.
“After Mr. Trump declares his views, which it is almost clear what he wants to say [on Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal], the Islamic Republic of Iran will give a fitting response at an appropriate time,” he added in response to a question about the US president’s plan to announce his position on the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and Iran’s compliance with it this week.
The Iranian foreign minister made the remarks after The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Trump was planning to announce that he would “decertify” the international nuclear agreement.
The US president plans to declare that the nuclear deal is not in the national interest of the United States and kick the issue to a reluctant Congress, the report added, citing people familiar with the White House strategy.
In an interview with Qatar-based broadcaster, Al Jazeera, released on Saturday, Zarif said the United States was addicted to imposing sanctions, but after four decades of such bans Iran has become invulnerable.
“The United States has had a policy of imposing sanctions on Iran for the past 40 years. Basically, they have immunized us to US sanctions. But from a global perspective, it seems that the United States is addicted to sanctions,” he added.
Elsewhere in his Sunday remarks, Zarif also said that the Middle East had long been “suffering” as a result of the wrong policies of the US, emphasizing that Iran was the pillar of stability and the fight against Takfiri terrorists.
He added that the US president and his allies sought to boost arms sales to the region and had pursued certain policies to achieve this objective, but their strategies had been detrimental to the United States itself as well as the Middle East.
Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany signed the nuclear agreement on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.
Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limitations on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.
During his speech at the UN General Assembly on September 19, Trump described the JCPOA as “the worst and most one-sided transaction Washington has ever entered into,” a characterization he often used during his presidential campaign.
The US Republican president faces an October 15 deadline for certifying that Iran is complying with the deal. Such certification is needed by US law every 90 days in order for Congress to continue to withhold nuclear-related sanctions against Iran.
The Trump administration has twice so far certified Iran’s compliance with the deal, but reports say he will most likely refuse to do this for a third time, leaving the Republican-controlled Congress to decide in 60 days whether to re-impose anti-Iran sanctions waived under the deal. That would let Congress effectively decide whether to kill the deal.
While the International Atomic Energy Agency has on multiple occasions confirmed Iran’s compliance with its commitments under the nuclear deal, the Trump administration itself has not been able to point to a single area in which Iran has been in breach of the terms of the agreement.