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World must withstand law-breaking US behavior: Iran FM

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says all members of the international community must stand up to US law-breaking behavior, bullying and disregard for the rule of law after Washington announced it was withdrawing from a landmark nuclear deal Iran signed with the P5+1 group of countries in 2015.

In separate letters to his counterparts in various countries, Zarif warned of the dangerous consequences of the US “illegal and unilateral” move to pull out from the nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and called for international condemnation of Washington’s extremism.

“Illegal withdrawal of the US government from the JCPOA, especially bullying methods used by this government to bring other governments in line, has discredited the rule of law and international law at international level while challenging the goals and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and efficiency of international bodies,” the Iranian foreign minister said.

He added that the US withdrawal from the JCPOA was the country’s biggest effort aimed at violating and weakening the nuclear accord and the UN Resolution 2231, adopted in July 2015 to endorse the historic deal.

He emphasized that the agreement’s scope, regulations and time frame were the outcome of “accurate, sensitive and balanced multilateral” talks and it is impossible to make any change or hold new negotiations about them.

US President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that Washington was walking away from the nuclear agreement, which was reached between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China – plus Germany.

Trump also said he would reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.

Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.

Zarif further said the conclusion of the JCPOA put an end to an “unnecessary crisis” which lasted for more than one decade.

“The JCPOA does not belong only to its signatories in a way that one side will be able to arbitrarily and irresponsibly reject it based on its domestic policy or political differences with a former ruling administration,” the top Iranian diplomat added.

He emphasized that despite the US acts of sabotage and incomplete implementation of the JCPOA, the Islamic Republic has remained fully committed to its obligations under the deal.

If the nuclear accord is to continue to stand, the remaining parties and other trade partners must give assurances to Iran that they would make up for the US withdrawal without any conditions and through national, regional and international measures, he pointed out.

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi on May 15 said European signatories to the landmark nuclear agreement should compensate for the United States’ decision to pull out of the deal.

“If the Europeans do not give assurances, we are ready to return to much more advanced conditions than before the [signing of the] JCPOA,” Iran’s nuclear chief said.

Later on May 20, Zarif told the European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Miguel Arias Cañete and his accompanying delegation in Tehran that the European Union’s “political support” for the nuclear agreement is not enough, urging the bloc to take more practical steps to boost economic cooperation with Iran.

“The [European] Union must take more practical steps to continue its economic cooperation with Iran and boost its investment in Iran,” Zarif added.

In his letters, Zarif also pointed to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s threat of imposing the “strongest sanctions in history” on Tehran and said such remarks were in violation of the JCPOA, Security Council Resolution 2231 and international law as well as Washington’s obligations under the 1981 Algiers Accords.

Speaking weeks after the United States’ move to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear agreement, Pompeo said Washington will increase the financial pressure on Iran by imposing the “strongest sanctions in history” on the Islamic Republic if Tehran refuses to change the course of its foreign and domestic policy.

He laid out 12 tough conditions for any “new deal” with Tehran. The conditions included withdrawal of Iran’s military advisors from Syria, who have been helping the country’s legitimate government in its anti-terror fight against terrorist outfits, which have been mostly aided and abetted by the US and its Western and regional allies.

Elsewhere in his letters, Zarif reiterated Iran’s right to respond to US illegal moves.

He said if the existing approaches fail to meet the Iranian people’s demands, the Islamic Republic reserves the right to adopt proportionate measures in response to the US illegal moves, particularly its decision to pull out from the JCPOA and to re-impose all unilateral sanctions on Tehran.

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