“It has been a month now that the Biden administration has been continuing Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ policy of lawlessness, one-upmanship, and bullying,” he said in Tehran on Wednesday on the sidelines of a meeting of the Iranian administration.
“If they believe that this policy has failed and made the US lose face, then its continuation is not going to help them out [any more] either, and will bring along the same failure and disgrace for them,” Zarif added.
Under Trump, the US left a historic 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries that also included Washington’s most prominent allies in Europe, namely the UK, France, and Germany. Trump then returned the sanctions that the deal had lifted and successfully pressured the European signatories into toeing the sanction line.
The US took all the illegal steps in the belief that Tehran would, in Washington’s own terms, “return” to the negotiating table and even allow inclusion of its missile program and regional influence as new talking points.
The Islamic Republic, however, managed to withstand the economic pressure. It, meanwhile, kept reminding the US that it would not renegotiate a “done deal,” and that its defensive work and regional might were never open to negotiation.
America’s exit and the European non-compliance that ensued prompted Tehran to begin suspending its nuclear commitments in several phases in retaliation.
The latest round of Iran’s countermeasures came when Majlis (the Parliament) set February 23 as the deadline beyond which the Islamic Republic would no longer adhere to the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The protocol that Tehran has been observing voluntarily, allows intrusive and short-notice inspections of the country’s nuclear program.
Zarif reminded that despite stopping its commitment to the Additional Protocol, Tehran would still retain its routine cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency by allowing the UN nuclear watchdog to keep up its regular inspections of the country’s nuclear work.
By sustaining its violations of the nuclear deal after the parliament’s deadline, the US would, however, be inviting even more disgrace for itself, he said.
Nevertheless, if the sanctions were lifted, Iran too would resume its nuclear obligations and reverse its decision concerning the Additional Protocol, the top diplomat noted, echoing Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei’s opinion in the area.
The Leader has asserted on several occasions that the Islamic Republic would only return to its commitments in the nuclear deal, which is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), once the bans were relieved in a way that could be verifiable by Tehran.
“If they think they can create a leverage for themselves by sustaining their already defeated policy, they should know this that in Iran too, some [counter]developments will take place on the ground [in return],” Zarif concluded, referring to how the country would take its nuclear counter-steps further if the counterparty continued its non-compliance.