Iran reserves right to respond if US pulls out of JCPOA: Zarif
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Islamic Republic reserves the right to respond should the US, as a party to the 2015 nuclear deal, withdraw from the agreement.
In a video message posted on YouTube on Thursday, Zarif compared Tehran’s full commitment to its side of the bargain to Washington’s breach of the deal, which is officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
On 11 occasions, he said, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed that Iran has implemented all it obligations under the JCPOA, but “the US has consistently violated the agreement especially by bullying others from doing business with Iran.”
Zarif also slammed the European countries’ appeasement to US President Donald Trump as a deadline looms for Washington to announce whether it will continue suspending anti-Iran sanctions that were lifted under the nuclear accord.
“In the last year or so, we’ve been told that President Trump is unhappy with the deal and it now appears that the response from some Europeans has been to offer the United States more concessions from our pocket,” he said.
“This appeasement entails promises of a new deal that would include matters we all decided to exclude at the outset of our negotiations, including Iran’s defensive capabilities and regional influence. But please understand on both issues, it is Iran, not the West, that has serious grievances and much to demand,” he added.
Referring to Iran’s peaceful history, Zarif further noted that the country has never invaded another country, but has been invaded by others, the most recent example of which was its invasion by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein who was supported by the United States and its allies.
“Despite that haunting experience, we still spend a fraction of countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on defense and our missiles have a shorter range than those of Saudi Arabia. And unlike US allies in the region who have brainwashed, financed and armed groups such as al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the ISIS (Daesh), we have been pivotal in defeating these extremist groups,” he noted.
The top Iranian diplomat also stressed that Iran will not renegotiate the nuclear deal, adding that the country stands firm against bullying.
“We will neither outsource our security, nor will we renegotiate or add on to a deal we have already implemented in good faith,” Zarif said.
“In the coming days the United States will have to decide whether to finally abide by its obligations. Iran stands firm in the face of futile attempts and bullying. But if the US continues to violate the agreement, or if it withdraws altogether, we will exercise our right to respond in a manner of our choosing.”
The Iranian foreign minister further warned that threats would not lead to a new deal and advised the US to meet its commitments under the JCPOA.
“Bluster or threats won’t get the US a new deal, particularly as it is not honoring the deal it has already made.”
Zarif said, “Relying on cartoonish allegations, rehash from more than a decade ago and dealt with by the IAEA to make a case for nixing the deal has fooled no one.”
“Thus, the US is well advised to finally start honoring its commitments or it and only it will have to accept responsibility for the consequences of not doing so,” he added.
On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled what he claimed to be “conclusive proof of the secret” Iranian nuclear program during a televised address from Israel’s ministry for military affairs.
Standing in front of a big screen and using large visual aids, he claimed that “Iran is brazenly lying” about its nuclear activities, presenting 55,000 pages of documents and 55,000 files on CDs as alleged evidence.