Iran reserves the full right to reduce its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as the European parties to the deal failed to comply with their obligations, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday during the MED 2020 virtual conference.
"Compliance means that it has to have some effects, there have to be some actions. And we do not see any effect. We don't see any European country buying oil from Iran. We do not see any European bank even prepared to send us money … So Europeans cannot claim that they are implementing JCPOA", the minister said.
Zarif emphasised that Iran would be ready to come back to full compliance and to scrap the earlier ratified law on Iranian nuclear facility inspections as soon as Europe and the US similarly comply with the accord. The legislation in question is a draft bill that seeks to halt implementation of the Additional Protocol of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency, which allows the global watchdog to inspect Iran's nuclear facilities.
"Europeans and the United States can in fact come back into compliance with JCPOA and not only this law will not be implemented, but in fact our actions that we have taken in light of paragraph 36 of the JCPOA will be rescinded. That is, we will go back to full compliance … We will immediately do that. In the meantime the legislation [adopted] by the parliament becomes the law … We have no other option", the minister added.
The minister went on to say that Iran refuses to renegotiate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed upon in 2015.
"The fact is that the United States and the European partners started with 20 plus 10 years of restrictions, Iran started with none. We agreed somewhere in the middle with 10 plus a few more years. This was the result of two years of negotiations. It will never be renegotiated, period", Zarif said.
Iran Scaling Back Commitments
On Sunday, the Iranian parliament passed a bill, dubbed "The strategic measure for the removal of sanctions". According to the bill, Iran will be producing at least 120 kilograms of 20-percent enriched uranium annually, with weapons-grade uranium upgraded to an enrichment level of over 20 percent. Iran is currently enriching uranium at a level above 4 percent, slightly higher than the 3.67 percent prescribed by the nuclear deal.
The bill has been in the works for several months, but the parliament only moved to ratify it after the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the head of the Iranian Defence Ministry's innovation centre.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed in 2015 by Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union stipulates the removal of international sanctions from Tehran in exchange for it scaling down its nuclear programme. The United States unilaterally abandoned the agreement in May 2018 under the administration of incumbent President Donald Trump.