Zarif: We’ve never claimed nuclear deal only favors Iran

July 22, 2015

TEHRAN - Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Tuesday that he and his negotiating team have never claimed that the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is completely in favor of Iran.


Iran and the 5+1 group (the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany) finalized the JCPOA on July 14 after some 23 months of negotiations. The deal was turned into international law through Resolution 2231 approved by the UN Security Council on July 20.

Zarif and Ali Akbar Salehi, the chief of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), attended an open session of the Majlis to brief MPs on the JCPOA. The text of the JCPOA, called BARJAM in its Farsi acronyms, and its annexes were submitted to the Majlis for review.

“We have never claimed and do not claim that the JCPOA is completely to the benefit of Iran,” Zarif, the chief nuclear negotiator with the great powers, told the Majlis.

“I emphasize that negotiating is basically giving [something] and taking [something in return], and unless a significant level of the two sides’ demands are met, no agreement is reached,” Press TV quoted Zarif as saying.

Answering questions by some MPs, Zarif said, “In order to meet demands we have had certain flexibility concerning restrictions and monitoring; this flexibility has been goal-oriented and well-calculated.”

The mechanism for the restoration of sanctions that Zarif was talking about is one under which any of the six countries in the 5+1 group can raise what it considers as a violation of the nuclear agreement by Iran; the issue would then be referred to dispute resolution panels, whose deliberations can take up to 30 days or more. On the thirtieth day, and as issues remain unresolved, the sanctions would automatically be re-imposed.

The process cannot be interrupted except by a majority vote in the Security Council. But any of the five permanent members can use its veto power to ensure that the re-imposed sanctions remain in place.

Reversibility to the conditions prior to the agreement not just an option for 5+1

Zarif also said the issue of reversibility to the conditions before the nuclear agreement is not just an option for Iran’s international partners but also for Tehran.

Referring to potential concerns over a mechanism for the reversibility of the UN Security Council sanctions against Iran, he said the potential restoration of the sanctions against Iran will not be an easy move for the council and will harm its standing.

He said that even a potential vote for the return of the sanctions at the council through a veto will be costly for the body as world countries have little regard for resolutions approved with a veto.

No one can ever threaten an Iranian

In his opening remarks, Zarif said that the Iranian negotiators in the talks proved that the Islamic Republic is ready to negotiate but will not allow the “six ostensibly powerful countries” to resort to extortion.

He said the negotiators made it clear to the six countries and the European Union foreign policy chief that “no one can ever threaten an Iranian.”

The Iranian foreign minister said it was also made clear to the world that enrichment and related research and development will never be stopped in Iran.

Netanyahu’s anger over the deal is natural

Zarif said it is no wonder that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raises a hue and cry and appeals to the U.S. Congress to torpedo the agreement.

“The much-hated Zionist regime (Israel) has never been this much isolated among its [own] allies,” the chief diplomat noted.

Iran achieves its main objectives

Foreign Minister Zarif said Iran achieved its main objectives under the JCPOA.

He enumerated objectives as “maintaining Iran’s dignity and might, establishing the nuclear program, enrichment and retaining the heavy-water reactor.”

The minister also referred to the termination of the sanctions against the Islamic Republic and previous UN resolutions that had “not only imposed sanctions on Iranians, but had also forbidden Iran’s nuclear program and turned into international duty the prevention of the enhancement of Iran’s missile capabilities.”

“For the opposite side the key goal was preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons” which the Islamic Republic was already not seeking, he explained.

“Ensuring this obvious issue (that Iran doesn’t seek to build nuclear bombs) is no special privilege because based on religious and human principles and the fatwa by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Iran has never been and never is after nuclear weapons.”

I take full responsibility for technical aspects of nuclear deal

After Zarif, Salehi told parliamentarians that he had come to the Majlis to testify that what Iran has achieved in terms of the technical issues of the agreement is a great feat, and that, as a person who has been involved in the nuclear field for over forty years, he takes full responsibility for the technical aspects of the agreement.

Salehi, a nuclear physicist, said that, while the provisions of the agreement are meant to be “restrictions” on what the 5+1 group claims is Iran’s path to atomic bombs, the country’s nuclear industry has not been restricted in a real sense since the Islamic Republic has never sought to build such weapons.