Al-monitor – Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araghchi has expressed hope that Europe will remain committed to the nuclear deal.
On Jan. 29, Araghchi appeared on Ofogh TV’s hard-line political show to respond to the criticisms and ambiguous points of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was achieved between Iran and the P5+1 (United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany) in 2015. Based on this agreement, Iran limited its nuclear program and, in return, nuclear-related sanctions were lifted.
Complaining about the United States not honoring its commitments under the JCPOA, Araghchi said, “What we recognize as a violation of the JCOPA by the United States, and we have protested it, is related to the paragraphs of Articles 26, 28 and 29 of the JCPOA. The United States is obligated to implement the JCPOA with goodwill like other parties. Unfortunately, [US President Donald] Trump has started to destroy this constructive atmosphere since his coming to [power]. Of course, [the same thing happened] during [former US President Barack] Obama’s era, but it was not so serious. The passage of the visa law was not a gross violation of the JCPOA, [but it was] a breach of Articles 26 and 28, [because] it could disrupt the economic cooperation atmosphere [between Iran] and some citizens of [a number of] countries.”
He added, “What is clear is that we will remain in the JCPOA as long as we benefit from the JCPOA, and we pursue the violations [of the JCPOA] through our channels.”
Speaking about the opinions of nuclear deal opponents in the United States, Araghchi said, “The Americans say that Iran has become more powerful because of the JCPOA and that its behavior in the region has become more offensive. … They believe that Iran is doing whatever it likes in the region.”
He continued, “[Based] on their view, the JCPOA has postponed [Iran’s ability for] reaching an atomic bomb for 10 years, and 10 years is like the blink of an eye in history. [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu also said this. Eight years later, all of these limitations will be lifted, and based on Trump’s view, the JCPOA with these qualities is completely harmful [for the United States].”
Mentioning the US president’s strategy toward the JCPOA, Araghchi said, “Trump’s dream is that Iran withdraws from the JCPOA itself and pays the price of tearing up the JCPOA. It has been one year that Trump wants to tear up the JCPOA and kill [the deal], but he can’t. The price of tearing up the JCPOA is that [he] must tear up [UN Security Council] Resolution 2231, and this resolution was [passed] so that the US president wouldn’t be able to withdraw from the JCPOA easily. Therefore, Trumps knows now that withdrawal from the JCPOA is costly.”
He continued, “At previous times, Trump also said that this is the last time [that I’m waiving the sanctions], but if he withdraws from the JCPOA, there will be no JCPOA anymore, and we are ready for any scenario.”
In a reference to Europe’s views about Trump’s attempts to kill the deal, Araghchi said that the Europeans’ position and their resistance in the face of Trump’s pressures have been good so far; however, it’s not known what kind of decision they will make in the future.
Araghchi said, “Europe is in disagreement with us over human rights, terrorism, missile and nuclear programs, [but] the nuclear issue was solved within the JCPOA. Europeans have a problem with our missile program, especially if the range of our missiles becomes continental, which would pose a security threat to Europe.”
Asked if Iran is willing to negotiate over an amendment to the nuclear deal, he said, “We won’t negotiate over this. This is an issue that is related to the future, but now we haven’t and aren’t negotiating, but what [Iran’s political system will decide] is based on its interests.”