The Iranian foreign minister says almost all countries, including the P5+1 group and the European Union, believe that the historic nuclear deal that Iran clinched with six world powers in 2015 is not open to renegotiation.
“Almost all countries – including the P5+1 group and the European Union as well as other members of the international community – support the need for honoring the JCPOA (Iran’s nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and its non-negotiability,” Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters in the Omani capital of Muscat on Monday.
“We have repeatedly announced that the Islamic Republic of Iran has numerous options [if the JCPOA is violated]. We prefer that all sides observe the JCPOA and Iran will not be the first [country] to violate the JCPOA,” he added.
The top Iranian diplomat pointed to his last month’s talks with the president of the United Nations General Assembly in New York and said Miroslav Lajčák had told him that more than 190 speeches were delivered at the body’s annual session in which all speakers supported the JCPOA and its non-negotiable nature.
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, US President Donald Trump described the JCPOA, which was negotiated under his predecessor Barack Obama, as “the worst and most one-sided transaction Washington has ever entered into,” a characterization he often used during his presidential campaign.
In October, the Republican president is due to notify Congress of whether Iran is adhering to the deal after Washington said last month that it was weighing whether to pull out of the nuclear accord.
Iran has repeatedly declared that the JCPOA is a multilateral agreement and that it would never accept to renegotiate its terms.
During an interview published by the Associated Press on September 27, Zarif said the US president “would open a Pandora’s box” if he tried to renegotiate the terms of the JCPOA, adding that the possibility of renegotiating the deal was a “myth.”
Elsewhere in his Monday remarks, the Iranian foreign minister commended “very special” relations between Tehran and Muscat, saying that the two sides enjoyed “very broad and good” ties in political field and had common views on regional issues, particularly on ways to improve security in the region.
He added that Iran and Oman had a common stance on the recent independence referendum held in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region and believed that the country’s territorial integrity, national unity and constitution must be fully respected.
In defiance of Iraqi central government’s stiff opposition, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) held a non-binding referendum on September 25 on secession from Baghdad.
Official results showed that 92.73 percent of voters had backed the secession as overall turnout was put at 72.61 percent.
Zarif arrived in Muscat on Monday at the first leg of his two-nation trip, which is to take him to Qatari capital of Doha as well.
Upon his arrival, the Iranian minister held talks with his Omani counterpart, Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, on mutual relations and the latest developments in the region.