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Foreign Affairs

Zarif denounces US, allies for throwing ball into Iran’s court as JCPOA revival hangs in balance

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denounces the US and its European allies for attempting to paint Iran responsible for, what they call, nuclear non-compliance, while it was their non-commitment in the first place that had Tehran suspend its obligations under a nuclear agreement.

Zarif made the remarks in a tweet on Thursday night in reaction to a joint statement that his American, British, French, and German counterparts had released earlier following a virtual meeting.

Through the statement, the quartet “affirmed their shared objective of Iran’s return to full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA.” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki separately reiterated the Western allies’ allegations by saying, "Iran is a long way from compliance."

The JCPOA stands for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which is the official name of the nuclear deal that came about in Vienna in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 group of states -- the US, the UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany. It lifted nuclear-related economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic that, in turn, enacted some voluntary changes in its nuclear energy program.

In 2018, the US left the deal under former president Donald Trump and returned the draconian sanctions that Iran has denounced as “economic terrorism.” Washington then successfully pressured the European trio into abiding by the economic bans and stopping their trade with Tehran.

The United States’ violations came in sheer disregard for the multi-party nature of the agreement. Taking the measures, the US also ignored the fact that the deal has been ratified by the United Nations Security Council as one of its resolutions.

A year after the US’s withdrawal, the Islamic Republic began a set of countermeasures that saw it suspending its commitment to the JCPOA gradually and through many steps as the allies would sustain their non-commitment to the deal.

Zarif rebuked the four states for their continued way of finding fault with Iran, despite their own sheer liability in the matter. He reminded them that it was their measures that initiated the vicious circle and also their persisting non-commitment to the JCPOA that sustained it.

“Instead of sophistry & putting onus on Iran, E3/EU must abide by own commitments & demand an end to Trump's legacy of Economic Terrorism against Iran,” he tweeted.

“Our remedial measures are a response to US/E3 violations,” the foreign minister added, referring to Iran’s reprisal.

“Remove the cause if you fear the effect. We'll follow ACTION w/ action,” the top diplomat asserted.

He was echoing remarks by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, who has declared Iran’s “definitive stance” on the matter on several occasions since the beginning of this month.

According to the Leader, given the many instances of counterparty non-compliance that Iran has faced since the conclusion of the deal, the Islamic Republic would not settle just for “nice words and promises” this time around but would take “action” as its only yardstick.

The country, Ayatollah Khamenei has noted, would, therefore, only retrace its nuclear countermeasures if all the oppressive sanctions against the country were lifted in a way that could be verifiable by Tehran.

Trump’s successor Joe Biden has just expressed an alleged interest in returning the US to the JCPOA without taking any action that could mirror the announcement or adopting any measure towards relieving the sanctions.

On Wednesday, Zarif addressed the Biden administration’s inaction, saying the new US president was upholding Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy towards Iran that had brought Washington nothing but frustration and disgrace.

The Western allies, though, kept paying lip-service in support of their alleged respect for the nuclear pact by saying “the conclusion of the JCPOA was a key achievement of multilateral diplomacy.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, meanwhile, said in complete disregard for Iran’s official stance on the matter that his country would resume its obligations “if Iran comes back into strict compliance with its commitments.”

The allies, meanwhile, urged Iran not to take action on its pending stage of retaliation that will see it suspending its adherence to the Additional Protocol of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty on February 23. The protocol that Tehran has been observing voluntarily, allows intrusive and short-notice inspections of the country’s nuclear program.

The quartet also urged “strengthening of the JCPOA” to include Iran’s missile program and regional influence. Tehran has repeatedly assured the allies that it would not renegotiate a “done deal.” It has also avowed that its defensive activity and region might were never open to negotiation.

Despite the obstinate-sounding statement that saw the European states apparently aligning themselves strictly with Washington against Iran, CNN suggested that the Europeans could not close their eyes on Washington’s role in the standoff, and that Europeans were “privately” pointing out that it was the US’s departure from the JCPOA that brought about the whole situation.

'US open to EU invitation for talks'

Cited by Reuters, a “senior US official,” meanwhile, said the country was ready to participate in talks including the rest of the JCPOA’s signatories after a top European official reportedly said he was prepared to convene such a meeting.

“We are ready to show up if such a meeting were to take place,” the American official told Reuters.

Source: Press TV

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