Zarif: Iran may withdraw from nuclear deal in case of major violations by US

Iran has warned that any major JCPOA violation on behalf of the US may result in Tehran’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made the remark on Monday during an interview with The National Interest magazine.

“If it comes to a major violation, or what in the terms of the nuclear deal is called significant nonperformance, then Iran has other options available, including withdrawing from the deal,” he said.

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Zarif further stressed that Islamic Republic wishes for the deal to serve as a solid foundation for all its parties and not the ceiling.

“We wanted that agreement to be the foundation and not the ceiling. But in order for that to serve as a solid foundation, we want to make sure that the obligations by all sides have been fully and faithfully implemented,” he added.

Iran’s top diplomat further noted that the US has shortcomings in commitments stipulated the nuclear accord, while stressing that these shortcomings will be addressed by the joint commission to make sure they are remedied.

“This has been the subject of an ongoing debate within the joint commission, not only during the (US President Donald) Trump administration but also during the previous (Barack) Obama administration, when it took the United States, for instance, several months to clear the purchase of airplanes,” he said in reference to the purchase of Airbus airplanes.

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia – plus Germany signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.

Under the agreement, limits were put on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for, among other things, the removal of all nuclear-related bans against the Islamic Republic.

The UN Security Council later unanimously endorsed a resolution that effectively turned the JCPOA into international law.

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US responsible for situation in Iraq

When asked about a recent New York Times article which claimed that the US had lost in Iraq, Zarif noted that Tehran does not view the regional situation as a winning or losing battle.

“It’s a situation where the initial US invasion of Iraq has led everybody to lose. Because we believe that the situation in today’s world is so interconnected that we cannot have winners and losers; we either win together or lose together,” he said.

“I believe our region requires solutions. And those solutions should emanate from a different approach to issues,” he added.

Iran’s policy is to fighting terrorism

Zarif also stressed that Iran has unswerving policy of “fighting extremism and terrorism,” be it in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria.

“The people who recognized the Taliban regime in Afghanistan are the same as the ones who are imposing pressure on Qatar, the same as the ones who are having difficulty with Iran, both in Syria and Iraq and in the region generally,” he said.

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Iran’s foreign minister further stressed that several regional countries continue to support terrorist groups active in the Middle East.

“Some countries consistently supported the wrong groups — these are the same countries from whose nationals, almost 94 percent of those engaged in acts of terror,” he noted.

When asked about the future of Iran-US relations, Zarif said that the outcome of such an equation will be determined by Washington’s approach.

“It has to look at Iran as the only country in the region where people stand in line for ten hours to vote,” he said. 

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