Iran’s military will respond firmly if U.S. continues aggression, Rouhani says in phone call with Macron

June 27, 2019

TEHRAN – Iran’s armed forces will respond firmly if U.S. continues to violate Iran’s territory, President Hassan Rouhani said late on Tuesday in a phone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron.

However, Rouhani added, Iran is not interested in escalating tension in the region and has never sought war with any country.

“We have always been committed to development of stability and security in the region and will make efforts in this respect,” Rouhani asserted.

Rouhani said the U.S. administration is responsible for escalation of tension in the region.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps on Thursday shot down a U.S. drone which violated Iran’s airspace. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the aerospace unit of the IRGC, said on Friday that the drone had received warnings for four times before being shot down.

“The U.S. drone was shot down after violating Iranian airspace and refusing to pay attention to several warnings by Iran’s defense systems. The Iranian armed forces will respond firmly if the U.S. seeks to violate Iran’s airspace and waters again,” Rouhani said in his conversation with the French leader.

‘U.S. withdrawal from JCPOA was against intl. interests’

Rouhani also said that the U.S. action in withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in May 2018 was against international interests.

There would be positive developments in the world if the JCPOA was implemented properly, Rouhani remarked.

Pointing to Europe’s lack of practical actions to preserve the JCPOA, the president said, “Iran will continue reducing its commitments phase by phase based on the JCPOA’s 26 and 36 articles if Iran does not gain benefits of the deal.”

On May 8, Iran announced a partial withdrawal from some aspects of the nuclear pact, saying that the country would no longer adhere to some of the limits on its nuclear activities. It also threatened to step up uranium enrichment if an agreement is not made within 60 days to protect it from the sanctions’ effects. The deadline ends on July 7.

In line with Tehran’s decision to scale back its commitments under the nuclear deal in protest to reimposition of sanctions by the United States, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) announced on June 17 that Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium will exceed 300 kilograms by June 27.

‘Iran will never renegotiate the JCPOA’

Rouhani also told his French counterpart that Iran will not renegotiate the terms of the deal under any circumstances.

“By acting against international law and imposing sanctions against the Iranian people, the U.S. has proven that it does not seek settle issues,” he said.

Elsewhere, he said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran will never do return to the past.” Rouhani added, “Whenever banking relations and oil sale issues are resolved by 4+1, situation will return to where they were, and nothing will change until the U.S. removes all sanctions against Iran.”

5+1 is now referred to as 4+1 - France, Britain, Russia and China as four permanent members of the UN Security Council - plus Germany. 

The JCPOA was first referred to as a legally binding agreement between Iran and the 5+1 group. However, the U.S. unilaterally exited the pact in May 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran.
  
Under the JCPOA, Iran is tasked to limit its nuclear activities in exchange for termination of sanctions. Since the deal went into effect in January 2016, the International Atomic Energy Agency has issued 15 reports each time confirming that Iran is abiding by the terms of the agreement. However, after waiting for a year that the remaining signatories to the JCPOA to do something to offset sanctions, Iran is saying that its “strategic patience” is coming to an end and it is removing caps on its nuclear activities step by step. 

Macron says France makes efforts to save the JCPOA

For his part, Macron expressed regret over the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA and noted that France will make efforts to save the deal.

He also said that cooperation and interaction to develop stability and security in the region should be expanded.

NA/PA
 

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