Nuclear chief: Iran to halt Additional Protocol if nuclear deal ditched

October 15, 2017

TEHRAN - Ali Akbar Salehi, director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said on Sunday the Islamic Republic will stop implementing the Additional Protocol to NPT if the nuclear agreement is ditched.

Additional Protocol allows for surprise inspection of nuclear sites by the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog.

“If the JCPOA collapses, we will suspend the implementation of the Additional Protocol because we are now implementing it voluntarily and it has not been approved by the Majlis (parliament),” Salehi said in an interview, according to Press TV.

Salehi, a nuclear physicist, also stressed that Iran will not accept anything beyond the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official name for the nuclear deal.

The JCPOA, which was reached between Iran and the P5+1 countries — the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany — in July 2015, put certain limits to Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for termination of all nuclear-related sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The deal took effect in January 2016. 

Salehi added that Iran can immediately return its nuclear activities to the stage before the implementation of the JCPOA in a very short period of time in case the deal falls apart.

“If one day authorities see that the JCPOA has no more benefits for our country and decide to resume the 20-percent enrichment [of uranium] at Fordow [facility], we can begin it in four days,” he explained.

Salehi also despised U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent anti-Iran speech, saying his comments were “disgusting and rude”.

On Friday, Trump presented a speech filled with anti-Iran insults. He said he would not certify Iran’s compliance with the terms of the nuclear accord under a domestic American law. 

Trump, a businessman-turned-politician, threatened to “terminate” the JCPOA if he could not “reach a solution working with Congress and our allies” to change it.

He also claimed that the Iranian government had “intimidated international inspectors into not using the full inspection authorities that the agreement calls for.”

President Hassan Rouhani dismissed Trump’s remarks as a “pile of delusional allegations”.

Additionally, after Trump’s speech, Yukiya Amano, the chief of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, reconfirmed in a statement that Iran was fully implementing its commitments under the nuclear deal.

In a meeting with Salehi on October 9, Amano said political developments, particularly in the U.S., would not influence the IAEA’s reporting on the Islamic Republic.

‘What we've seen lacks common sense and strategic thinking’

John Kerry, former secretary of state who was the United States’ top diplomat in nuclear talks with Iran, on Friday blasted Trump's decision not to re-certify Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal, accusing Trump of jumpstarting an "international crisis."

"President Trump's decision today is dangerous," Kerry said in a lengthy statement he posted to Twitter, CBS News reported. 

"He's creating an international crisis. It endangers America's national security interests and those of our closest allies. 

“It's a reckless abandonment of facts in favor of ego and ideology from a president who would rather play a high-stakes game of chicken with the Congress and with Iran than admit that the nuclear agreement is working. I strongly hope that the other six signatories will prove to the world what responsible behavior is, and adhere to this agreement — no matter what false accusations and contrived provocations are put forward by President Trump."

Kerry went on to say the stakes are "enormous" for Congress, and unraveling the JCPOA would put into question whether the U.S. can be taken at its word. 

"The president has polluted the negotiating waters and made it easier for legitimate concerns to be distinguished from back-door efforts to kill the deal," Kerry added.

"What we've seen today lacks common sense and strategic thinking to say nothing of maturity. Congress now gets an opportunity to be the adult in the room and act in America's genuine national security interest. The country and the world really are watching."

NA/PA