Iran notifies JCPOA partners of suspension of some commitments

Iran notifies JCPOA partners of suspension of some commitments

Iran has informed the five remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal of its decision to suspend the implementation of some of its commitments under the multinational agreement, exactly one year after the United States unilaterally abandoned the international document.

The ambassadors of the countries remaining in the deal — France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China — on Wednesday received a letter penned by President Rouhani elaborating the suspension of some of Iran's commitments under the accord, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

President Rouhani informed the Iranian people of the decisions in a live televised speech. The broadcast is available on our Twitter feed:

The letter was handed over by Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi to the ambassadors of the five countries, who had been invited to the Foreign Ministry. The document specifies the details of the decision taken by Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), which is chaired by President Rouhani.

In a statement, the SNSC said the order is aimed at “safeguarding the Iranian nation’s security and interests” in the line with national rights under Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA.

The document says Tehran has exercised utmost self-restraint and patience since Washington's exit from the deal last May, and has given the remaining signatories “considerable” time at their own request to compensate for Washington’s withdrawal and guarantee Iran’s interests.

Nevertheless, the other parties have failed to adopt any “practical measures” to blunt the impact of the economic sanctions that were re-imposed against Tehran by the US following its withdrawal, the statement said.

The Islamic Republic is thus entitled to restore the balance between its rights and obligations under the JCPOA, and has no option but to “reduce its commitments” within the framework of the deal, it added.

At the current stage, the statement said, Iran will no longer consider itself committed to the limits agreed under the deal on its stocks of enriched uranium and heavy water stocks.

Under the JCPOA, Iran is allowed to keep 300 kilograms of uranium enriched up to 3.67 percent. The deal requires Tehran to sell off any enriched uranium above the limit on international markets in return for natural uranium.

Tehran’s stock of heavy water is also restricted to 130 tonnes under the deal, which also calls for Iran’s excess heavy water to be sold to a foreign buyer.

The Council has given Iran’s partners in the deal “60 days to meet their commitments, especially in the banking and oil sectors,” said the statement.

If they fail to address Iran’s concerns, Tehran will suspend the implementation of two more commitments under the JCPOA, according to the statement.

In the next stage, Tehran will no longer be bound by its commitment to enrich uranium up to 3.67 percent and will also begin developing its Arak heavy water reactor based on its pre-JCPOA plans, it added.

“Whenever our demands are met, we will, to the same extent, resume the commitments. Otherwise, the Islamic Republic will be suspending more commitments stage by stage,” the statement added.

The council has also advised the other parties against adopting any imprudent acts: 

“Iran stands ready to continue its consultations with the remaining parties to the deal at all levels, but it will swiftly and firmly react to any irresponsible measure, including returning the [nuclear] case to the Security Council or imposing more sanctions.”

Tehran has showed “goodwill” throughout the lengthy diplomatic process, including the negotiations in the run-up to the deal and the implementation of the accord. It once again displayed “goodwill” when the US left the deal and patiently waited for the opposite side to fulfill their commitments.

The statement said it is now the other side’s turn to prove their “goodwill” and adopt “serious and practical” measures towards protecting the JCPOA.

Iran holds the US and the other signatories responsible for the potential collapse of the JCPOA and its repercussions, according to the statement.

Ali-Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), later clarified what Iran means by declaring that it will suspend selling excess heavy water and low-enriched uranium.

“Refusing to sell means that Iran is no longer committed to observing the caps” set in the JCPOA, he told reporters.

‘Europe good with words, not as good in action’

In his speech, Rouhani said the UN’s nuclear watchdog -- the International Atomic Agency (IAEA) -- which is tasked with monitoring the technical aspects of the JCPOA’s implementation, has verified Iran’s full compliance on 14 occasions since early 2016, when the deal took effect.

Rouhani said Europe has succeeded in promoting the deal in word, but has fallen short of putting its words into action, especially in the area of economy.

The Europeans have, time and again, declared that they would be staying true to the deal and make up for the US withdrawal one way or another” without committing to their words, he said.

He said the failure was rooted in Europe acknowledging the US as the world’s economic leader, and that this approach was “preventing them from taking a firm decision for their [respective] national interests…Unfortunately, they bow under pressure.”

The president described the JCPOA as a source of benefit for the world and the region and a source of loss for “Iran’s enemies,” whom he enumerated as “the American radicals, Zionists, and the reactionary regional regimes.”

The president further reminded Europe of Iran’s crucial role in ensuring security in the region, from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean and from the Caspian to the Red Sea. Iran, he added, helped stop the spread of terrorism to Europe and contained the influx of migrants into the continent.

This cooperation will cease to exist if the situation continues as it is, he warned.

Iran avoided US trap

Tehran, however, refused to play into the hands of the Trump administration by following in their footsteps and leaving the deal, Rouhani said.

Had the Islamic Republic made such a move, the US would have taken Iran’s case to the United Nations Security Council to both relieve itself of any responsibility in the matter and ratchet up pressure on the country, he added.

“We won’t allow the United States to turn a win-win deal into a win-lose one,” the president said.

'Don’t abuse Iran’s actions'

Rouhani said that in the letter tendered to the envoys, Iran has clearly advised those countries against “using Iran's measures as a pretext and trying to take its case back to the Security Council.”

“Should they do so, they will be faced with a very decisive action, which I have plainly described in the letter,” he noted.

‘Iran not after war, still welcomes dialog’

Iran’s measures are, in fact, aimed at saving the deal, rather than destroying it, President Rouhani said.

He added that it was not Tehran, which initiated non-commitment to the accord, and that the country was still prepared to join negotiations within the agreement’s framework.

“We have not left the negotiation table,” he stated.

The course of action adopted today does not mean Iran has chosen the path of conflict with the world, President Rouhani said. “It is still the course of diplomacy, but diplomacy using another language and logic.”


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