TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – An Iranian deputy foreign minister said although the country’s move to roll back some of its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal is not tantamount to withdrawal from the agreement, Tehran has put a piecemeal pullout from the JCPOA on its agenda.
Speaking at a televised interview on Wednesday night, Abbas Araqchi said Iran’s new decision to back off from a series of commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was neither a pullout from nor a violation of the nuclear deal.
He underlined that Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA stipulate that Iran has the right to reduce its commitments partially or totally if the other parties fail to honor their commitments.
“Today, nobody in the world can accuse us of violating the JCPOA… However, we have put withdrawal from the JCPOA on the agenda, albeit in a piecemeal manner, meaning that we will be ready to return to our previous commitments at any stage when the other sides fulfill theirs. Our policy is to give diplomacy an opportunity and make time for the other countries to make up for their failures,” he added.
Araqchi further echoed a warning by President Hassan Rouhani that taking Iran’s case to the UN Security Council for the reinstatement of sanctions will be Tehran’s “red line”, which will totally ruin the JCPOA and force Iran to take other measures.
On Wednesday, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council announced that Tehran will stop honoring certain commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, which had already been scrapped by the US.
At a cabinet session later in the day, Rouhani said the five remaining parties to the JCPOA -Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany- have been informed of Tehran’s decision to refuse to continue honoring two commitments under the deal.
He said Iran stops selling any enriched uranium above the 300-kg limit in exchange for yellow cake and also stops selling its heavy water above the limit of 130 tons.
The president also announced that the JCPOA parties will have 60 days to come to the negotiating table and fulfill Iran’s main interests under the nuclear deal, especially regarding oil sales and banking interaction.
If Iran does not achieve the desired results after 60 days, it will take two more measures and stop observing the limit on uranium enrichment to 3.67 percent purity, he added.
The president said Iran will also make a new decision about its Arak heavy water reactor –which was planned to be renovated with the participation of the JCPOA parties- after the 60-day deadline.
Rouhani also threatened that Iran will take a “decisive measure” if the JCPOA parties would intend to send Iran’s nuclear case to the UN Security Council.
“We will not start breaching commitments and waging any war, but we will not give in to bullying, either, and will give a decisive response to any aggressor,” the president underlined.
Iran’s announcement comes a year after US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the agreement, which was signed in 2015.