E3 complicit in violating JCPOA, Iran says

January 11, 2021 - 21:44

TEHRAN – Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, has responded to a joint statement issued by the three European signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal by saying that these countries have not only failed to uphold their obligations under the nuclear deal, but they have also been complicit in violating the deal alongside the United States.

Speaking at a weekly press conference, the spokesman said, “We have a big problem with some European countries which is that some European countries, as signatories and participants to the JCPOA, had definite obligations. Unfortunately, not only did they fail to fulfill their obligations, but they were America’s partners in violating the JCPOA.”

The European signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – France, Germany and the UK (E3) – have recently issued a joint statement in response to Iran’s recent decision to substantially raise the level of uranium enrichment to 20%.

“We are deeply concerned by the commencement by Iran on the 4th of January of uranium enrichment up to 20% at the underground facility of the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant. This action, which has no credible civil justification and carries very significant proliferation-related risks, is in clear violation of Iran’s commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and further hollows out the Agreement,” the joint statement said.  “This is a serious negative development which undermines the joint commitment of JCPOA participants on 21 December to preserve the JCPOA. It also risks compromising the important opportunity for a return to diplomacy with the incoming U.S. administration.”

The Europeans also called on Iran to “stop enriching uranium to up to 20% without delay, reverse its enrichment program to the limits agreed in the JCPOA and to refrain from any further escalatory steps which would further reduce the space for effective diplomacy.”

On January 4, Iran officially started enriching uranium to 20%. “A few minutes ago, the process of producing enriched uranium to 20% purity has begun. And the first product of UF6 enriched uranium will be produced in a few hours,” Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said.

The spokesman also said that President Hassan Rouhani has issued an order stipulating that the recent nuclear law passed by the Iranian Parliament should be implemented.

The nuclear law, officially called “Strategic Action to Lift Sanctions and Protect Nation’s Rights,” outlines a step-by-step strategy for Iran to force the West into reconsidering its sanctions policy against Iran by increasing nuclear activities. It stipulates that the Iranian government should take certain nuclear measures such as raising the level of uranium enrichment to 20% and suspend the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in few months if the Western parties failed to honor their obligations under the JCPOA.

The UN nuclear watchdog has confirmed that Iran has raised the level of uranium enrichment. Iran has said its nuclear move is remedial and aimed at forcing all JCPOA participants into implementing their commitments.

“We resumed 20% enrichment, as legislated by our Parliament. IAEA has been duly notified. Our remedial action conforms fully with Para 36 of JCPOA, after years of non-compliance by several other JCPOA participants. Our measures are fully reversible upon FULL compliance by ALL,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet on the same day as Iran started the 20% uranium enrichment.

Iran also said that European countries are not in a position to castigate Tehran for raising the level of uranium enrichment.

During his Monday press briefing, Khatibzadeh said these countries know very well that Iran’s decision to reduce nuclear commitment was in line with the terms of the JCPOA.

“These countries are better aware that what is being done today by Iran to reduce its obligations is in accordance with the JCPOA and within the framework of the JCPOA and under Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA. Iran's actions are intended to maintain the JCPOA,” Khtibzadeh said, noting, “Most importantly, these three European countries know better what is happening in Iran is a sign of a disease and a problem, not the root of a problem. What Iran is doing is a response to the root of the big problem, which is the repetitive and complete violation of the JCPOA in terms of lifting sanctions by the United States and Europe.”

“If the European countries want to reverse Iran's actions, which are all reversible and can be easily and quickly reversed, it is better for these countries to return to the fulfillment of their obligations and cure the root cause of the violation of the agreement by the Europeans,” the spokesman continued.

According to Khatibzadeh, the Europeans are using palliatives to treat the fever of disease, not the disease itself. “Treating the disease is possible by fully implementing commitments. The day Europe and America return to the implementation of their commitment, we will also return to the full implementation of our commitments. Effective implementation in exchange for effective implementation,” he continued.

Responding to a question on what Iran would do in addition to 20% uranium enrichment if sanctions are not lifted, the spokesman said the government will implement the nuclear law passed by the Iranian Parliament in early November.

“The law of the Parliament is absolutely binding on everyone and we are all duty-bound to implement it. As soon as the law was completed, we implemented it, despite the government's views from day one,” Khatibzadeh pointed out.

The spokesman also responded to remarks by an Iranian lawmaker on expelling the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors if sanctions against the Islamic Republic are not lifted by February 21.

Khatibzadeh said he cannot comment on the lawmaker’s remarks but he said that the lawmaker may have meant that Iran would stop inspections beyond the IAEA safeguards, which does not mean that Iran will expel international inspectors as Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA will continue within the framework of the Non-Proliferation Treaty commitments.

Earlier this week, Ahmad Amirabadi, a member of the Parliament Presiding Board, said that Iran will expel the IAEA inspectors if the sanctions aren’t lifted by February.

“Iran, without a doubt, will stop the voluntary implementation of Additional Protocol if the sanctions against Iran, especially in finance, banking and oil sectors are not lifted by the mentioned day. This is a law passed by the Iranian Parliament. The government is committed to implementing this law,” Amirabadi said in a televised program on Saturday.

“We gave the U.S. a one-month opportunity. The new U.S. administration will take the office on January 21,” he added.

SM/PA

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