Lifting sanctions was not chief aim of nuclear talks, top Iranian diplomat says

January 30, 2018

TEHRAN – Protecting Iran’s “inalienable nuclear right” and not lifting sanctions was the chief purpose of Iran’s negotiations with great powers, a top Iranian chief diplomat has said.

Abbas Araqchi made the remarks in a televised interview on Monday.

Under the 2015 nuclear deal, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Russia, China, Britain, France and the U.S. – along with Germany and the European Union recognized Iran’s right to nuclear enrichment.

“I do not believe that we entered the negotiations to remove sanctions. We entered talks to uphold the Iranian people’s inalienable right. The fact that the international community, the UN Security Council and the 5+1 group respect our nuclear program is a great achievement of the JCPOA,” he explained.

As a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Iran is legally entitled to master nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. However, in order disprove claims by certain hardliners in the U.S. that Iran is seeking to build nuclear weapons, Tehran agreed to temporary limits on its uranium enrichment work.

Araqchi also noted that according to the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, all the nuclear related sanctions against Iran have been removed.

The deal went into effect in January 2016.

‘Trump is an impediment to implementation of JCPOA’

Araqchi also said that U.S. President Donald Trump is an “impediment” to the implementation of JCPOA.

Iran agreed to slow down its nuclear program in exchange for termination of nuclear related sanctions. However, Tehran has threatened if the other side does not abide by its commitments it will resume enrichment work with full speed.

“Trump seeks to deprive Iran of its power. So, he says that the nuclear deal should be scrapped,” said Araqchi who was heavily involved in nuclear negotiations with major powers and the European Union in drafting the text of the JCPOA.

In a statement on January 12, Trump said if the text of the nuclear deal is not revised in the next 120 days he would unilaterally withdraw the U.S. from the agreement.

‘Iran benefits from JCPOA’

Araqchi, an international law expert, also said Iran gains benefits from the JCPOA, because the international atmosphere for investment in Iran has improved a lot.

“Iran, from our point of view and also the international community’s viewpoint, is gaining benefits from the JCPOA. We are selling oil and have also attracted investment,” he pointed out.

He also dismissed any suggestion for the review of the nuclear agreement. “Iran’s position is obvious… the country will not accept any review on the JCPOA.”

The deputy foreign minister also said so far the Europeans have adopted a “good position” on the JCPOA.

Elsewhere, Araqchi said that pulling out of the JCPOA will be costly for the U.S.

“Its costs are very clear. It is clear for the Europeans and will also be obvious for the U.S. that the JCPOA plays an important role in West Asia. West Asia is facing many crises and conflicts and a new crisis, as complicated as a nuclear crisis, will be added to the existing ones,” the top diplomat noted.

NA/PA

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