Nuclear deal still ‘firm’ despite U.S. illegal exit, FM spokesman says

June 26, 2018

TEHRAN – Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi has said he regards the 2015 nuclear deal a “firm” agreement, which is still in place despite the U.S. government’s “illegal” withdrawal from it.

It came days after Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is in the intensive care unit (ICU), and that he doesn’t see bright prospects for the deal.

“I have my own opinion… and it does not contradict with the opinion of other officials,” Qassemi said on Monday at his weekly press conference in Tehran.

On May 8, U.S. President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the JCPOA, which was achieved in Vienna in 2015 after years of negotiations among Iran and six world powers.

Following the U.S. action, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that any decision to keep the JCPOA running without the U.S. should be conditional on “practical guarantees” from the Europeans.

Despite the U.S. exit from the JCPOA, all other signatories to the deal are trying to preserve it, Qassemi said. 

All five countries – namely Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany – are obligated and have responsibilities regarding the implementation of the nuclear pact, he stated.

Talks with EU on missiles ‘not strange’, Qassemi says

On talks with the European Union (EU) about Iran’s missile program, the spokesman said holding talks with the EU about Iran’s missiles is “not something strange”.

Recently, Federica Mogherini, the European Union foreign policy chief, said the EU had held talks with top Iranian officials about Tehran’s “ballistic missiles, regional issues and human rights.”

Pointing to recent talks between the representatives of Iran and the EU to save the JCPOA, Qassemi said it is possible that the subject of the Iranian missiles has been raised in the talks.

“I have not heard what [Mogherini] said exactly, but the idea of such a dialogue is not unnatural,” he remarked.

“In spite of the commonalities and relations that we have with European countries, there may be disagreements over some issues,” he added.

‘Iran in contact with other countries to reduce sufferings of Yemenis’

On the Yemeni crisis, Qassemi Iran is in contact with the regional and European governments in order to find a way to send relief aid and other humanitarian assistance to Yemen.

He called on the international community to intervene and stop the Saudi war on Yemen, where an ongoing offensive against the Mediterranean port of Hudaydah has put the country on the brink of famine.  

“The international community should understand the Yemeni people’s difficult conditions and the international organizations and the UN should make enough effort to end the aggression against the oppressed Yemeni people,” he added. 

MH/PA

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