Iran to take fourth nuclear step if remaining parties fail to honor obligations: government

October 30, 2019 - 19:4

TEHRAN - Mahmoud Vaezi, the presidential chief of staff, confirmed on Wednesday that Iran will take the fourth step to reduce commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, if the remaining parties fail to honor obligations by the scheduled deadline.

The remaining parties to the JCPOA are the E3 – Britain, Germany and France – the European Union, Russia and China.

“A committee is studying this issue. We will definitely take the fourth step if we do not achieve what we are seeing in the talks by the end of the two-month deadline,” he told reporters.

U.S. President Donald Trump quit the multilateral deal in May 2018 and imposed the toughest ever sanctions on Iran.

On May 8, exactly one year after the U.S. abandoned the deal, Tehran began to partially reduce its commitments to the agreement at bi-monthly intervals.

In the first stage, Iran announced that it will not limit its stockpile of the nuclear fuel to 300 kilograms allowed under the deal. However, on that date (May 8) Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) said if the remaining parties to the JCPOA, especially Europeans, devise a mechanism to protect Iran from the sanctions' effect in the two-month deadline it will reverse its decision. 

But since European parties missed the deadline, on July 7 Iran announced that it has started enriching uranium to a higher purity than the 3.67%, thereby starting the second step.

Again, as Europe missed the second 60-day deadline, Iran moved to take the third step, removing a ban on nuclear research and development (R&D).

Vaezi told reporters on October 23 that Iran will take fourth step to reduce commitments under the JCPOA if no concrete action is taken by the remaining parties to protect Iran from the U.S. sanctions.

The current deadline comes to an end in early November.

‘We should avoid self-inflicted sanctions’

Vaezi also said that Iran should use the opportunity to join the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in order to avoid self-inflicted sanctions.

He said those inside Iran who oppose joining the FATF should accept the responsibility for their actions.

The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said on October 18 that it has given Iran a final deadline of February 2020 to tighten its laws against money laundering in compliance with the global watchdog’s financial standards.

“If before February 2020, Iran does not enact the Palermo and Terrorist Financing Conventions in line with the FATF Standards, then the FATF will fully lift the suspension of counter-measures and call on its members and urge all jurisdictions to apply effective counter-measures, in line with recommendation 19,” the FATF said in a statement, Reuters reported.

The general consensus in the Expediency Council is against approving the FATF.

Gholamreza Mesbahi-Moghadam, a member of the Expediency Council, told ISNA in an interview published on October 14 that the council has set aside studies to approve bills related to the FATF.

“Palermo and CFT will help the United States to identify the ways we circumvent the sanctions. We will not tighten sanctions by our own hands,” Mesbahi-Moghadam remarked.

One of the actions Iran is required to take to appease the FATF is to ratify the CFT, the convention combatting the financing of terrorism.

Talking in a cabinet meeting on October 23, President Hassan Rouhani called on the Expediency Council to approve FATF related bills.

“It is our pride that we fight terrorists and counter corruption, therefore we should not allow allegations of money laundering against our banking system,” Rouhani stated.

He added, “This hurts our country.”

‘Washington uses terrorists as winning card’

On the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the founder and leader of Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group, Vaezi said Washington uses terrorists as “winning card”.

“Death of Baghdadi is not end of Daesh. Daesh was created by the United States and it [the U.S.] supported the group when needed and now, near the elections [the 2020 U.S. presidential elections], they took this action [killing Baghdadi],” opined Vaezi who acted as the second-ranking diplomat in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Trump announced on Sunday that Baghdadi had died during a “dangerous and daring” nighttime operation in Syria.

“Last night the United States brought the world’s number one terrorist leader to justice,” Trump said while addressing the media at the White House on Sunday.

The U.S. president said the Daesh leader blew himself up, dying “like a dog,” and “like a coward” after American forces trapped him inside a dead-end tunnel.



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