Any wrong step will harm Europeans: Rouhani

January 15, 2020 - 16:51

TEHRAN – President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that any wrong step toward the 2015 nuclear deal by the Europeans will be harmful to themselves.

“If you take a wrong step, you will be harmed. Take the right step which is returning to the JCPOA,” he said during a cabinet meeting.

The remarks by Rouhani came as France, Germany and the United Kingdom issued a joint statement on Tuesday announcing they have formally triggered the dispute mechanism in the nuclear deal.

Rouhani said, “The Europeans say that Iran has taken fifth nuclear step and we should take a step. The step you must take is returning to your commitments.”

On January 5, Iran suspended all limits under the JCPOA in accordance to paragraph 36. It was the fifth and the final step by Iran.

“The Armed Forces and the Guards (IRGC), by striking Ain al-Assad, showed that we do not back down in the face of the U.S. and that if they commit a crime they will surely receive the proper response,” Rouhani says. Paragraph 36 provided a mechanism to resolve disputes and allows one side, under certain circumstances, to stop complying with the deal if the other side is out of compliance.

After waiting for a year that the European signatories to the JCPOA take practical measures to protect its economy from U.S. sanctions, Iran announced on May 8, 2019, that its “strategic patience” and started to reduce its JCPOA comments at bi-monthly intervals. 

The decision was taken exactly one year after the U.S. abandoned the deal and reintroduced sanctions on Iran. In each step senior officials in Iran announced if the European side take concrete measures to shield the country’s economy from sanctions it will reverse its decision.

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

‘What Trump has done except violating law?’

In response to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s remarks about replacing the nuclear deal with the “Trump deal”, Rouhani asked, “What [U.S. President Donald] Trump has done except violating law?”

“Apologize the Iranian people for your weakness and also your fear of the United States. We invite you to return to the JCPOA,” he noted.

Rouhani also said, “Today, you must understand that you made a mistake toward the JCPOA, assassination of Martyr Soleimani, the region, Iraq, Yemen and imposition of sanctions on Iran’s oil sale. Abandon making mistake and return. We are prepared if you return and take a path which is beneficial to regional stability and security.”

‘Soleimani was Iran’s border guard’

Rouhani also said that General Soleimani was Iran’s “border guard” and symbol of “courage and martyrdom”.

“We knew the United States is very criminal. However, we did not think that it would hit a great general fighting terrorism who was a guest of another country with missile,” he said.

Soleimani was assassinated in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad on January 3. He was a gust of the Iraqi prime minister. The Pentagon announced that Soleimani was targeted upon direct order by Trump.
Rouhani praised the IRGC for taking a revenge on the United States by targeting its airbase in western Iraq with dozens of ballistic missiles on January 8.

“The Armed Forces and the Guards (IRGC), by striking Ain al-Assad, showed that we do not back down in the face of the U.S. and that if they commit a crime they will surely receive the proper response.” 

‘Armed Forces must not be undermined for the mistake’

Pointing to the Ukrainian plane crash, Rouhani also said that those who mistakenly shot down the passenger plane are the ones who make efforts in line with protecting the country’s security. However, he said that they must apologize to the people and such incidents must not happen again.

The president added despite this “great mistake” the armed forces should not be undermined. 

“We have needed, need and will need armed forces such as army, Guards, Basij and police.”   

The Ukrainian passenger plane, with 176 people aboard, was mistakenly downed on the 8th of January by the air defense system.

Rouhani said on Tuesday that the Judiciary should form a special court headed by a high-ranking judge and assisted by tens of senior experts to investigate the issue.


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