Iran Rejects a Revised Nuclear Deal

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TEHRAN – Iranian President’s Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi stressed that his country may not accept to replace the nuclear deal of 2015 with a new agreement, or what is called the “Trump Deal”. Being asked about Trump’s suggestion for endorsement of a new deal with Iran, called “Trump Deal”, Vaezi noted:

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“This is not the first time that the US president makes such remarks about the JCPOA but I should admit that the job [making a new deal] cannot be done.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suggestion that the 2015 Iran nuclear deal be replaced with a new one – named after Donald Trump – received an enthusiastic response from the US president.

“Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, stated, ‘We should replace the Iran deal with the Trump deal.’ I agree!” Trump proclaimed in a tweet released Wednesday.

Earlier, Johnson said he understands American concerns over the “flawed” 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which saw the Islamic Republic dramatically reducing its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of the crippling economic sanctions.

Reacting to recent E3 decision to activate trigger mechanism in Iran nuclear deal, Vaezi said discussing the case by Europeans in the next joint JCPOA commission can not necessarily be translated into the implementation of trigger mechanism i.e. re-imposition of some sanctions on Iran.

The 3 European signatories to the JCPOA—the UK, France and Germany—triggered the investigation into Tehran’s alleged breaching of the 2015 nuclear deal after Iran lifted limits on enrichment capacity over a year after the US discarded the nuclear deal and the Europeans failed to provide Tehran with any of the merits promised under the JCPOA.

Now, a fresh joint statement by Paris, Berlin and London insists Tehran had “no legal grounds to cease implementing the provisions of the agreement.” Activating the mechanism – which is only possible if one or more signatories suspect a non-compliance with the deal – could eventually lead to the UN Security Council deciding whether to bring back sanctions against Iran.

Vaezi said that Iran and Europe have had talks in the previously held joint commissions and “I suppose in the upcoming session, considering Iran’s right to reduce its JCPOA commitments, the sides will re-negotiate and resolve the disputes.”

He assured that the case will not be referred to the UN Security Council and the trigger mechanism will not be implemented.

“The made E3 decision was based on propaganda and their move has been a passive one,” he added.

Vaezi, elsewhere, addressed the arrest of the UK ambassador to Iran, saying that “the ambassador must pay more attention to diplomatic principles.”

“The Iranian foreign ministry is still studying the case,” he added.

Earlier on the day, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had lashed out at the 3 European signatories of the nuclear deal — the UK, France and Germany — for abiding by unilateral pressures of the US, underlining that the trio’s Tuesday unconstructive move was a strategic blunder. Zarif denounced as a “strategic mistake” the European trio’s decision to trigger a dispute mechanism under the 2015 deal.

The top diplomat criticized the European signatories to the landmark deal once again on Tuesday for failing to abide by their commitments under the JCPOA and said triggering a dispute resolution mechanism is legally baseless and politically a strategic blunder.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said on Tuesday that the recent statement of the 3 European signatories of the nuclear deal was a demonstration of their weak stance in the face of the US, and warned that the trio should wait for Tehran’s tough response if they fail to fulfill their pledges under the nuclear deal.

He described the move as Europeans’ adoption of a defensive posture in the face of the US unilateral measures and intimidations, adding that the trio’s decision further exposed their vulnerability and lack of independence from the US.

“The mechanism for resolving disputes in the JCPOA was initiated by the Islamic Republic of Iran more than a year ago when Mr. Foreign Minister sent letters to the coordinator of the JCPOA Joint Commission, but nothing new has resulted in terms of procedures or inaction,” he added.

“In fact, European’s announcement for activating Dispute Resolution Mechanism and their reference to the Article 36 of the JCPOA is brought up in a sphere where the very same article had already been used by the Islamic Republic of Iran and therefore there is no new situation in sight,” Mousavi highlighted.

“However, if Europeans, who have claimed in their [Tuesday statement] that they are undertaking the move with good faith and well intention to preserve the JCPOA, keep their path of surrendering in front of the US rather than trying to deliver on their commitments and letting Iran benefit from the removal of sanctions according to the two annexes of the JCPOA, they have to ready themselves for the consequences which had already been cautioned about,” warned the Iranian diplomat, calling upon Europeans to further try to save the nuclear deal instead of giving in to the US bullying.

Earlier in January, Iran announced that the level of uranium enrichment was to be determined by its own “technical needs.” However, both Tehran and the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that international inspectors are continuing their verification activities under the nuclear deal.

Following the decision, Iran’s UN envoy said in an interview that Tehran had meticulously followed the provisions of the nuclear deal even though it had received “almost nothing in return.” He added that the European parties to the JCPOA (from which Tehran expected to receive benefits) “didn’t act in accordance with the deal.”

Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said triggering the mechanism isn’t about re-imposing sanctions. Its aim is “to resolve issues relating to the implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement,” he was quoted by Reuters.

Iran has previously warned against triggering the mechanism, with Mousavi insisting that by scaling back nuclear commitments Iran executed “its legal rights to react to America’s illegal and unilateral exit of the deal.” The deal, brokered by six major world powers, saw Iran concede to dramatically reduce uranium enrichment and allow international inspections in return for the lifting of sweeping economic sanctions.

It ended up in jeopardy in 2018 when US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from what he called the “worst deal ever” and reinstated crippling penalties targeting Iran’s oil industry, banking sector and international trade.

Throughout 2019, Tehran had been gradually activating new centrifuges and enriching uranium to levels banned under the agreement, lamenting that European signatories failed to carry out their part of the deal. It was only after the assassination of IRGC Qods Commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in early January that Tehran decided not to abide by any of those limitations.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif voiced skepticism over the appeal, writing on Twitter, “For 20 months, the E3 – following UK appeasement policy – has bowed to US diktat. That hasn’t gotten it anywhere – and it never will.”

Although the 2015 deal now hangs in the balance, Tehran made reassurances earlier this month that it has no interest in obtaining nuclear weapons. There is “no place for nuclear weapons in Iran’s defensive doctrine,” Iran’s ambassador to the UN said. Tehran is a member of the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty which aims for gradual nuclear disarmament and sets standards for arms control, the diplomat added.

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