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Our national interests outweigh JCPOA, Iranian diplomat says

Iran’s deputy foreign minister says safeguarding the national interests is more important than preserving a nuclear deal the country clinched with major world powers in 2015.

“No country has any doubt about Iran’s goodwill to preserve the JCPOA (the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action),” Abbas Araqchi told reporters in Russia on Friday on the sidelines of the Moscow Nonproliferation Conference (MNC) 2019.

“There is no doubt that if Iran is not enjoying the JCPOA’s benefits, it will continue to scale back its commitments under the JCPOA,” he added.

The Iranian diplomat noted that Tehran has transparently showed its will to both fulfill its commitments in accordance with the nuclear deal and reduce them if the remaining signatories fail to uphold their end of the bargain.

Iran would continue to reduce its commitments in case of no change in the current circumstances, Araqchi pointed out.

The three-day 2019 MNC opened in Moscow on Thursday in the presence of up to 250 participants from over 40 countries, as well as from key international organizations in the field, including the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said on Wednesday that it had officially started injecting gas into hundreds of centrifuges at the Fordow nuclear plant in the fourth step away from the 2015 nuclear deal.

PressTV-Iran starts injecting gas into centrifuges at Fordow plant

Iran starts injecting gas into centrifuges at Fordow plantIran says it has officially started injecting gas into hundreds of centrifuges at Fordow nuclear facility in fourth step away from the 2015 nuclear deal.

The fate of the deal has been in the balance since May 2018, when the US abruptly abandoned it and reinstated the anti-Iran sanctions that it had lifted as part of the JCPOA.

In response to Washington’s withdrawal, Tehran had previously rowed back on its nuclear commitments three times in compliance with Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, stressing that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as European cosignatories, Britain, Germany and France, find practical ways to shield mutual trade from the US sanctions.

Tehran says Europe has so far failed to uphold its commitments. It has expressed vocal support for the deal, but has not provided meaningful economic incentives as required under the nuclear agreement.

Iran’s enrichment move does not threaten non-proliferation: Russia

Interfax news agency quoted the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying on Friday that Iran’s latest move to scale back its commitments under the JCPOA did not pose a threat to the non-proliferation regime.

Moscow has supported the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.

US actions against Iran absolutely unacceptable: Lavrov

On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also slammed Washington for demonstrating “absolutely unacceptable actions” against Iran.

“Despite the well-known and absolutely unacceptable actions of Washington, the JCPOA is still in place,” Lavrov said at the Moscow Nonproliferation Conference.

The top Russian diplomat added that Iran was “the most checked country in the world” after the nuclear pact.

“It [the agreement] has answered all questions the IAEA had for Tehran, created a situation of maximum transparency of the Iran’s nuclear program, confirmed the legitimate rights of this country to develop peaceful atom technologies under control of the agency,” Lavrov pointed out.

He said the JCPOA needs to be preserved as it turned Iran’s nuclear program into one of the “most transparent” in the world.

‘Adverse consequences in case of Iran’s potential exit from JCPOA’

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Friday warned that Iran’s potential exit from the nuclear accord will undermine efforts by the international community aimed at resolving the Iranian nuclear issue.

“Iran’s exit from the JCPOA will have adverse consequences,” she said, adding that a potential collapse of the deal would be caused by the unilateral US exit and “the inability of European partners to guarantee the conditions offered to Iran.”

“Unfortunately, today we are witnessing where the irresponsible and inconclusive policy and actions of the members to this deal lead. This is a cause for concern,” the diplomat said.

Zakharova reminded that four years of talks led to the conclusion of the JCPOA and expressed doubt that “anyone else would be able to repeat this path.”

“Besides, it is a matter of trust. If something that was approved and established through negotiations is destroyed once, then who would play the same game with the same rules, when these rules are broken in such a blatant and presumptuous manner?” the spokeswoman asked.

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