Europe showing no will or ability to save nuclear deal, the president says

Iran must not be the only party loyal to JCPOA: Rouhani

September 27, 2019

TEHRAN – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday that the European countries have either been unable or shown no will to save the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Talking in a press conference in New York at the conclusion of his visit to the annual UN General Assembly, he said Iran cannot be the only country that pays the price for keeping the JCPOA alive.

Under the JCPOA, Iran agreed to put limits on its nuclear activities in exchange for the termination of economic and financial changes. 

On Iran’s move to scale back its commitments, Rouhani said, “We reduced our commitments in two phases. We also started the third phase. We hope that we would reach an agreement by the end of the two-month deadline. We will take the next steps if Europeans are not able to fulfill their duties.”

“We were living up to our commitments fully and they kept decreasing their commitments. We wanted to create a balance, just as they were decreasing their commitments, we wished to decrease ours as well,” CNN quoted him as saying, adding that the JCPOA included a formula that allowed for that.

In May 2018, President Donald Trump abandoned the nuclear deal and returned the previous sanctions and imposed new harsh ones.

Rouhani said if the other parties to the deal say they will fulfill all of their commitments “immediately, we will also return to all of our commitments ... and the temporary actions that we are taking will be reversed.”

Asked about an International Atomic Energy Agency report seen by Reuters on Thursday according to which Iran has reduced its nuclear commitments by enriching uranium with advanced centrifuges, Rouhani said, “The limitations that we had vis a vis research and development, within the framework of the JCPOA, we have left those limitations.”

Rouhani emphasized that Iran has no plan to increase enrichment levels, saying “that is not the scope of what we’re doing.” He said that Iran informed the IAEA beforehand.

Rouhani urges U.S. to pursue policy of logic

Rouhani also urged the United States to quit policy of maximum pressure and pursue a policy of dialogue and logic.

Trump has been repeatedly calling for dialogue with Iran. However, Iran has been insisting that there will be no talks while the sanctions are in place.

“Cease this policy of maximum pressure and pursue a policy of dialogue and logic and reason,” AP quoted him as saying.

He said that moving in that direction “would be a different set of circumstances and a different atmosphere.”

According to CNN, he said, “The precondition of America is if it wishes to talk to Iran, the condition is that the sanctions and maximum pressure upon the Iranian people must be implemented and then enter into talks.”

“We say this is the wrong precondition, this must be taken off the table. The sanctions must be dissolved,” Rouhani added.

“Iran has no fear of talks” 

On Friday, Rouhani said Iran has no fear of talks and it is the United States which hinders negotiations.

“It is the United States which hinders talks and does not seek to solve problems. Iran has logic and has never escaped negotiations and has no fear of talks,” he told reporters upon arrival in Tehran.

He noted, “We have clearly said that we are ready for talks, but not in the atmosphere of sanctions and pressure.”

“I told heads of European states that we are ready for talks if a free and fair atmosphere is created. They asked when we will be ready for the 5+1 group’s meeting and I answered them in one hour; you create the atmosphere and change this poisonous atmosphere and we will be ready for talks in one hour,” Rouhani explained.

“Those blaming Iran for Aramco attacks present evidence”

During his press conference in New York, Rouhani also rejected any involvement in attacks on the Saudi Aramco oil facilities on September 14.

“We have nothing to do with it. There is a bloody war in the region, a futile and long war that consists of the aggression against Yemen and the people of Yemen have a ... right to self-defense,” he said.

He added, “All of the world knows that the Yemeni forces and the Yemeni armed forces do possess long-range missiles as well as unmanned aerial vehicles and they have previously attacked different regions of Saudi Arabia. Those who accuse others, those are the parties who should be held responsible to show proof, to show evidence to back up those allegations or accusations.”

NA/PA

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