Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says his administration pulled off the task of removing the bases for sanctions against the Islamic Republic, not just the bans themselves, by achieving a nuclear deal with six world powers.
Speaking in a meeting with government officials in the southwestern Iranian city of Yasuj on Monday, President Rouhani said the administration could have reached a deal in the course of nuclear negotiations “much sooner” but was after eliminating the bases for the sanctions, which he implied was the reason why the talks took more time.
Negotiators from Rouhani’s administration, with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the head, talked to representatives from the United States, Russia, the UK, France, and China (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council) and Germany for some 22 months before reaching a comprehensive nuclear deal on July 14, 2015.
Under the deal, which is called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program and provide international monitors with enhanced access to its facilities in return for the termination of all nuclear-related sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
In his Monday’s remarks, President Rouhani said his administration also succeeded in removing the foundations used to impose the nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, explaining that the bases for the sanctions were derived from Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, as well as the issue of the so-called possible military dimensions (PMD) of the Iranian nuclear program at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
He said some people were of the opinion that the Security Council resolutions, which had been adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, could not be removed in a single day, “but we had them annulled in one day and before implementing the JCPOA.”
The resolutions the president was referring to were all lifted through theadoption by the Security Council of Resolution 2231 on July 20, 2015 to endorse the JCPOA, some six months before the deal itself started being implemented by the sides.
The Iranian nuclear case exiting Chapter VII “means that… one basis for the sanctions has been removed,” President Rouhani said.
He said other countries whose cases had been adopted under Chapter VII were either invaded militarily or were subjected to devastating sanctions regimes.
(L-R) European Union’s Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announce the conclusion of a deal between Iran and six other countries in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2015. (Photo by AFP)
He said the PMD issue, the other basis for the nuclear-related bans on Iran, was also resolved through the course of negotiations.
“The [International] Atomic Energy Agency has now officially declared that it has no questions about Iran’s nuclear past and that its main questions have to do with the future and the issue of the JCPOA,” President Rouhani said.
The IAEA has been tasked with monitoring the technical aspects of the Iran-P5+1 deal.
On December 15, 2015, the IAEA Board of Governors passed by consensus a resolution that ended the agency’s 12-year investigationinto the outstanding past and present issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program.
“Twelve [IAEA] resolutions against Iran were lifted in a single day, which is cause for pride on the part of the Iranian nation and its diplomats,” the Iranian president said.
“Not a single Iranian nuclear scientist was disrespected and no one could interview [even] one [Iranian] nuclear scientist about Iran’s nuclear activities,” said President Rouhani.
The nuclear talks had been going on for over some 12 years before the JCPOA was struck. Iran’s original negotiating partners at the time the talks first started were the UK, France and Germany, a group known back in 2003 as the E3.
The talks gained greater momentum under the administration of President Rouhani, who tasked the Foreign Ministry — under Zarif’s watch — with handling the talks soon after assuming office in 2013.