MP tells Tehran Times: Iran hellbent on stopping Additional Protocol

Unplugging the cameras

February 14, 2021 - 21:9

TEHRAN – The clock is ticking. Each day brings Iran closer to an important deadline that could turn the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major world powers into a thing of the past.

The West is only one week away from the point where it may forever lose the opportunity to revive the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

After more than two years of heroic patience in the face of Western non-compliance with the JCPOA, Iran ultimately made it clear to the United States and Europe that the time to implement the JCPOA obligations one-sidedly is over, and that they must live with the consequences of their non-compliance if they fail to ensure what was promised to Iran under the JCPOA.

On February 21 the Iranian government will be obligated to implement a nuclear law that was passed mainly to compel the West to realize that Iran will resume the full implementation of the JCPOA only after the remaining parties to the JCPOA as well as the U.S. start keep their end of the bargain.

On December 10, the official gazette of record for the Islamic Republic of Iran published a 9-article law that set the stage for Iran to substantially increase its nuclear activities, including raising the level of uranium enrichment to up to 20% in early January.

The nuclear law, officially called “Strategic Action to Lift Sanctions and Protect the Nation’s Rights,” outlines a step-by-step strategy for Iran to force the West into changing its policies toward Iran, according to Abolfazl Amouei, the spokesman for the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee.

“By enacting the Strategic Action to Lift Sanctions, the Parliament aims to exert pressure on Western parties and force them into changing their policies,” Amouei told the Tehran Times on Sunday.

The nuclear law stipulates that the Iranian government should take certain nuclear measures such as raising the level of uranium enrichment to 20% and suspending 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 sixth article of the law clearly stipulates that if the remaining parties to the JCPOA – Germany, France, China, Russia and the UK- failed to facilitate Iran’s oil exports and the return of Iranian oil revenues in two months, the Iranian government would be obligated to stop inspections beyond the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards, including the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol.

Amouei said this article gave the West a period of two months to facilitate Iran’s oil sales and normalize its banking ties with the world, however, the West failed to do so and now is hell-bent to stop the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol.

According to Amouei, there is no sign that the West is moving toward facilitating Iran’s oil exports and its banking ties.

“We think that the West has not seized on this two-month period as we have not seen any effective measure on part of the West,” the spokesman said.

In early January, Iran partly implemented this law by raising the uranium enrichment level to 20%. Iran also vowed to reduce the international inspections of its nuclear facilities. Some Iranian officials even threatened to expel the International Atomic Energy Agency’s inspectors if the U.S. failed to remove sanctions by February 21.

With the February deadline only a week away, Iran is “dead set” on implementing the nuclear law, according to Amouei.

“The Parliament is dead set on implementing this law and will follow up on it,” he said, adding that there is an overwhelming consensus among all of Iran’s institutions about moving forward with the nuclear law.

But does this mean that Iran will take steps it has so far avoided taking? It remains to be seen whether Iran will take measures that will change the nuclear state of play.

But the Europeans and Americans don’t seem to be understanding the seriousness of the situation. They are in close contact but refuse to make any meaningful move to salvage the JCPOA.

“I spoke to Tony Blinken yesterday we're cooperating on a whole range of issues, including the nuclear issue around Iran, many others, Myanmar, and will continue to do so,” UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in an interview on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.

Earlier on Friday, the UK, along with France and Germany, issued a statement calling on Iran to immediately stop its recent nuclear activities.
“We, the governments of France, Germany and the United Kingdom, note with grave concern the recent confirmation by the IAEA that Iran is producing uranium metal in violation of the JCPOA…. We strongly urge Iran to halt these activities without delay and not to take any new non-compliant steps on its nuclear program,” the statement said.

The three European signatories to the JCPOA – collectively known as the E3 - also accused Iran of escalating its non-compliance while undermining the opportunity for renewed diplomacy to fully realize the objectives of the JCPOA.  

By accusing Iran of undermining the opportunity for renewed diplomacy, which is a clear reference to the coming of Joe Biden, the Europeans once again demonstrated that they are still doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.

For more than 30 months Iran has been repeatedly calling on Europe to save the JCPOA before it’s too late but its calls fell on deaf ears in Europe. And even now, Iran is not stopping the implementation of the Additional Protocol abruptly. It has told the Europeans in advance that it will stop the implementation of the Additional Protocol.

But the Europeans refused to seize on this opportunity. This time, the European negligence will cost them dearly because Iran will stop all the inspections being done in accordance with the Additional Protocol. And this includes the surveillance cameras that were placed in Iran’s nuclear facilities according to the Additional Protocol.

“Inspections related to the Additional Protocol will be stopped. The surveillance cameras that were placed in accordance with the Additional Protocol will be unplugged,” Amouei told the Tehran Times.

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