IranMiddle East

Zarif: N. Deal Not Renegotiable

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif lashed out at US and E3 countries for defying their nuclear deal undertakings, stressing that the deal can never be renegotiated.

“JCPOA cannot be renegotiated—period,” Zarif wrote on his Twitter account on Thursday.

He went on to say that it is neither 2015 nor 1945, implying that the time of coercion is over and the US should return to its international obligations.

JCPOA cannot be renegotiated—period.

If 2021 is not 2015, it’s not 1945 either. So let’s change UN Charter & remove the veto—so often abused by US.

Let’s stop posturing—which we both did 2003-2012 to no avail—& get down to implementing JCPOA—which we both actually signed on to.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) March 4, 2021

In relevant remarks on Thursday, the Iranian foreign ministry welcomed the European countries’ decision to avoid sponsoring a resolution at this week’s quarterly meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog against Tehran.

“Vote on the resolution was called off with intensive diplomatic efforts in Tehran, Vienna and the capitals of all members of the (International Atomic Energy Agency) Board of Governors, specially the three European countries, as well as the support of China and Russia,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Thursday.

“Today’s development can maintain the path of diplomacy opened by Iran and the IAEA and pave the way for the full implementation of undertakings by all parties to the nuclear deal,” he added.

“Iran hopes that the parties to the nuclear deal will manage to take this opportunity and guarantee the full implementation of nuclear deal by everyone through serious cooperation,” Khatibzadeh said.

Reuters reported earlier today that Britain, France and Germany have scrapped a US-backed plan for the IAEA’s board to criticize Iran for scaling back cooperation with the agency.

The decision was made after Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi warned the other parties to the nuclear deal to avoid moves which increase tensions.

Araqchi made the remarks in a meeting with Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic Themistoklis Demiris on Wednesday.

Both sides conferred on the expansion of bilateral relations as well as the latest Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) developments.

He went on to say that Iran will fully comply with its JCPOA obligations if Washington lifts illegal sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

“Iran’s move to reduce its JCPOA commitments are in line with the provisions of the Nuclear Deal and in response to the non-fulfillment of the US and European commitments,” he added.

The Iranian diplomat further highlighted that Tehran has adopted necessary measures to safeguard the JCPOA in the past four years.

Referring to the efforts made by E3 to submit a draft resolution, he maintained that Iran will not accept similar behaviors after the failure of the US maximum pressure campaign.

Araqchi said that lifting illegal US sanctions is the only way to advance the JCPOA, adding that Iran expects the remaining signatories of the Nuclear Deal to resolve the issues through political settlement and avoid any action the would further escalate tensions.

Demiris, for his part, stressed Greece’s support for using diplomatic means to resolve disputes, noting that the country along with its European partners has always opposed the US withdrawal from the Nuclear Deal and the imposition of unilateral sanctions against Iran.

Iranian President’s Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi warned on Wednesday that the West-sponsored resolution at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors can leave negative impact on cooperation between Tehran and the IAEA.

“Certainly the resolution, even after they say they have removed and softened many of its clauses, is considered as non-constructive and affects the type of negotiations we have about the nuclear deal and Iran’s interaction with the Agency, and it should be corrected before it is too late,” Vaezi told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Tehran.

He stressed that the European countries and the US should take a clear step (to remove sanctions against Iran), and added, “After verification, we will fulfill our undertakings too.”

Iran had also warned on Tuesday that if a harsh resolution is approved at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors against the country, Tehran will review the recent joint statement with the IAEA.

“In response to the whisper from European countries, our representative (to the IAEA) has stated in a statement that if any resolution against Iran is approved, an appropriate response and decision will be made, including a review of the recent joint statement between the IAEA and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI),” Government Spokesman Ali Rabiyee told reporters in a press conference in Tehran.

“We are still committed to the nuclear deal and in case other parties resume their undertakings, we will resume implementation of all our obligations quickly and without delay, including the full implementation of the Additional Protocol. The recent agreement reached between Iran and the IAEA demonstrates Iran’s goodwill and steadfastness in reassuring the international community of our undisputable commitment to the peaceful conduct of nuclear activities,” he added.

Rabiyee said that Iran expects its goodwill to be responded with goodwill from the IAEA Board of Governors members, and added, “In our view, with the agreement reached (between Iran and the IAEA), there is no reason to worry about the halt of the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol.”

“However, if the US really has a reason to worry, it should return to its commitments in the nuclear deal to pave the way for Iran to reciprocate and obviate such an artificial concern,” he added.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had also warned on Monday that Tehran will take serious action in response to any possible West-sponsored resolution at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors.

“The foreign minister presented a report on the latest developments at the IAEA Board of Governors during the meeting (with us, the legislators) and said if any destructive resolution is issued against Iran at the IAEA board of governors, Iran will show a serious reaction,” Rapporteur of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Abolfazl Amouyee told FNA.

He was elaborating on the Monday morning meeting between Zarif and the Iranian lawmakers.

Amouyee also referred to the proposal for the US presence at the meetings between Iran and the G4+1 under the nuclear deal, and quoted Zarif as saying, “The US is not entitled to return to the nuclear deal until it fulfills its undertakings.”

Zarif had also earlier today warned that any hostile move by the western states at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s Board of Governors against Tehran would further complicate the present circumstances surrounding the nuclear deal and Iran’s nuclear issue.

“The Europeans have started a wrong move in support of the US at the (IAEA) Board of Governors,” Zarif told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with Iranian lawmakers on Monday.

He cautioned that the Western countries’ measure could further complicate the conditions.

Tehran has already informed the IAEA Board of Governors about the complicated conditions which can be created by the westerners’ move, Zarif said, expressing the hope that rationality would win.

He also warned of Iran’s scenarios for any hostile measure adopted at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting.

In relevant remarks on Sunday, Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi had also cautioned the IAEA Board of Governors to avoid adopting a resolution against Iran under the US pressure and influence, warning that any such hostile move would trigger Tehran’s reciprocal response.

“In case the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency adopts an anti-Iran resolution due to the suspension of the [NPT] Additional Protocol, we will give a proper response,” Salehi said, a day before the IAEA Board’s meeting.

Referring to a recent joint statement between AEOI and the IAEA on Iran’s voluntary stopping of the Additional Protocol to the NPT Safeguards Treaty, he said, “The appendix to this statement is confidential.”

“No specific conditions have been made in this regard, and according to the detailed information about the list of facilities and monitoring cameras mentioned in this appendix and also due to security considerations and the need to hide the location of key facilities in Iran, this appendix will remain confidential,” the official noted.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi reached a temporary bilateral understanding with Iran over a week ago, allowing the Agency to continue verification work in the country for up to 90 days.

Grossi said the understanding was meant to provide a window of opportunity for political talks to get underway amid attempts to revive the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the JCPOA. The possibility of a Board resolution however, is further complicating the situation.

Grossi appealed for constructive discussions that would preserve the work of the Agency.

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