Zarif says Iran has not violated nuclear deal

July 2, 2019 - 17:23

TEHRAN – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said late on Monday that Iran has not violated the 2015 nuclear deal as the country’s stockpile of enriched uranium passed 300kg limit, saying Iran was just exercising its right to respond to the U.S. withdrawal and reimposition of sanctions.

"We have NOT violated the JCPOA," Zarif tweeted, using the acronym for the name of the nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Zarif said as soon as the E3 – Britain, Germany and France – honor their obligation under the deal Iran will reverse its decision.

Zarif posted an image which shows paragraph 6 of the statement from the Joint Commission of the JCPOA issued on July 6, 2018 which says, “The participants recognized that, in return for the implementation by Iran of its nuclear related commitments, the lifting of sanctions, including the economic dividends arising from it, constitutes an essential part of the JCPOA.”

His tweeted message was also along with paragraph 36 of the JCPOA according to which provides a mechanism to resolve disputes when parties believe other signatories are not fulfilling their obligations.

“We have NOT violated the #JCPOA.
Para 36 of the accord illustrates why:
We triggered & exhausted para 36 after US withdrawal. 
We gave E3+2 a few weeks while reserving our right.
We finally took action after 60 weeks.
As soon as E3 abide by their obligations, we'll reverse.” 

As a retaliation against the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA and reimposition of sanctions on Iran coupled with a failure by the European Union to compensate for the U.S. exit, Iran officially announced that it stops selling stockpiles of enriched uranium and heavy water for 60 days from May 8.

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.

After June 27, Kamalvandi said, Iran will speed up its uranium enrichment activities beyond 3.67 percent if the other sides don’t take a practical step to shield Iran from sanctions effect.

“After surpassing 300 kilograms, we will increase the speed of producing enriched uranium above 3.67 percent,” Kamalvandi stated.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which monitors Iran's nuclear program under the deal, confirmed in Vienna that the stockpile had surpassed the limit.

Trump says Iran ‘playing with fire’

After the news broke out that Iran’s stockpile of uranium has reached above 300 kilograms, President Donald Trump said that Tehran was "playing with fire".

Asked if he had a message for Iran, Trump said: "No message to Iran. They know what they're doing. They know what they're playing with, and I think they're playing with fire. So, no message to Iran whatsoever."
The White House said earlier it would continue to apply "maximum pressure" on Iran. It also said Iran should be held to a standard barring all uranium enrichment.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, said there is no international standard prohibiting Iran from enriching uranium. "That is not the case. That is an American position," Kimball told Reuters.

Zarif said Iran's next move would be to enrich uranium beyond the maximum 3.67 percent fissile purity allowed under the deal, a threshold Tehran has previously said it would cross on July 7.
"This is not an irreversible step the Iranians have taken. Iran, with the remaining partners, can decide how they're going to proceed. There is a process in the JCPOA to try to cure breaches," said Wendy Sherman, former President Barack Obama's lead negotiator on the deal and now director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School. 


In another tweet, Zarif responded with surprise to a claim by the White House that Iran violated the JCPOA even before the deal existed with just one word: “Seriously?”

In a statement published by press secretary of the White House on Monday, it is said, “There is little doubt that even before the deal’s existence, Iran was violating its terms.”

The White House did not elaborate on how Iran could break the terms of the deal that had yet to be implemented. 

The statement added that the U.S. will continue “maximum pressure” on Iran.


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