Lip service to nuclear deal not enough, Iran warns Europe

May 25, 2018

TEHRAN – A top Iranian diplomat says paying lip service to the 2015 nuclear agreement is not enough, demanding that European countries guarantee Iran’s benefits from the otherwise abandoned Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“We told the Europeans that paying lip service is not enough,” Majid Takht-Ravanchi, the current deputy director of the presidential chief of staff for political affairs, said on Friday, ISNA reported.

Should the European countries fail to provide practical guarantees for the implementation of the JCPOA, Iran would take an alternative measure, he said, suggesting that leaving the historic pact, which was struck back in 2015 between Iran and six world powers, is on the table.

‘We won’t stay in nuclear at any condition’

“We will not stay in BARJAM (a Persian acronym for the JCPOA) in any conditions. This has been asserted by the Supreme Leader and the president as well, and the policy of the system is that the dignity of the Iranian nation is above all these things.”

Takht-Ravanchi, who was on Iran’s nuclear negotiating team with big powers, stressed that in the aftermath of the U.S. unilateral exit from the JCPOA, President Rouhani set a deadline of just a few weeks – not months – for talks with other signatories of the deal, warning, especially the European countries, against the protraction of the talks.

He said due to Iran’s full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA, all sanctions and restrictions, including banking hurdles, must be lifted.

He added if Washington’s sanctions harm Iran’s oil sale, it would be a clear violation of the JCPOA which Tehran would deem unacceptable.

The diplomat further said the EU policymakers are trying to resurrect the “blocking statute” to resist U.S. sanctions and this shows their determination to support their firms, he stated.

“The reality, however, is that countries cannot force their private sector to have business interactions with other countries,” he added.

Takht-Ravanchi also said since assuming office, U.S. President Donald Trump has tried very hard to deter Iran from the benefits of the nuclear agreement.

“Following Trump’s action in exiting BARJAM, all countries, except for the Zionist regime and one or two others, took a stance against America… This demonstrates Washington’s isolation at international level, even among its close partners,” he explained.

‘Missile defense program is red line’

He also pointed to Iran’s missile program which was raised by European countries to persuade the U.S. government to stay in the deal, saying Iran has repeatedly said that its missile program is non-negotiable.

“Our position about the missile program is quite clear. It is our red line and it has directly related with our national security.”

“Our stance was clear from the beginning, we repeatedly announced that the contents of Barjam are clear and there’s no ambiguity in it,” he remarked.

MH/PA

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