Iran FM warns EU over more reduction in nuclear commitments
Story Code : 814226
"It is meaningless to continue unilateral commitments to the deal if we don't enjoy its benefits as promised by the deal's European parties," Zarif said in a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Monday.
"Measures of the third step would be definitely carried out if the Europeans failed to fulfill their obligations in due time, but we have repeatedly said that whenever the Europeans fully implement the JCPOA (the nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), we are also ready to fully implement it," he added.
Iran has rowed back on its nuclear commitments twice in compliance with articles 26 and 36 of the nuclear agreement, reached between Tehran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany in July 2015.
Tehran says its reciprocal measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the Iranian economy from unilateral US sanctions, which were imposed last year when President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal.
European signatories to the JCPOA -- Britain, Germany and France -- have so far failed to uphold their commitments. They have expressed vocal support for the deal, but failed to provide meaningful economic incentives as required under the nuclear agreement.
The Iranian foreign minister further hailed efforts made by Russia and China to preserve the JCPOA despite US pressures and emphasized that the Europeans have so far failed to do enough vis-à-vis the nuclear deal.
"We consider Russia and China as partners that have helped us in the JCPOA, have held strong positions and contributed to the continued survival of the JCPOA," Zarif said, adding, "Unfortunately, we have not seen the same approach from the Europeans. They have not been able or willing to take the necessary action in order to fulfill their obligations at the JCPOA."
The Iranian foreign minister told reporters in Tehran on Sunday that Tehran may not take the "third step" in reducing its commitments under the JCPOA if the Europeans take necessary action to fulfill their obligations.
"Iran's negotiations with the Europeans will continue ... If the Europeans fail to carry out necessary measures by Thursday, we will write a letter to the Europeans… announcing the implementation of the third step," Zarif said.
Later on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi warned that if European parties to the nuclear agreement fail to meet their commitments, Tehran will further, and this time more decisively, reduce its nuclear obligations.
“The third step will be heavier than the first and second ones so it can strike a balance between the Islamic Republic’s rights and obligations in the JCPOA,” Mousavi said.
Elsewhere in his Monday remarks, Zarif said Tehran and Moscow enjoy the best level of relations and are expanding cooperation in various sectors.
He noted that bilateral cooperation would contribute to the promotion of peace and security in the region.
Russia welcomes full JCPOA implementation
The Russian foreign minister, for his part, stressed the importance of full implementation of the JCPOA "without any additions or exemptions" and said Moscow would continue close cooperation with Europe in this regard.
He said he "would be very much interested" in becoming aware of Iran's assessment of the latest developments surrounding the multilateral nuclear accord.
"We have been hearing and watching the developments, which we welcome, if they are aimed at resolving the current deadlock and the resumption of activities in line with the JCPOA," Lavrov added.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the top Russian diplomat emphasized that Iran’s missile program has not been banned by international law and called for more cooperation to ensure security in the Middle East.
He said security in the region should be pursued by regional countries in an environment of respect.
Lavrov pointed to "unlawful one-sided restrictions" imposed by the US on both Russia and Iran and said, "We have agreed to make further efforts and take more measures to protect economic projects with Iran and to gain independence from payments in dollars."
Russia has on several occasions blasted the US for leaving the JCPOA and its efforts to torpedo the agreement, underlining the need for the remaining parties to the 2015 deal to live up to their commitments to help Iran benefit from the accord as Tehran says it has done enough to preserve the agreement and will not take the burdens alone anymore.
Back in May, Lavrov said after a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful in nature and used for civilian means, stressing that Moscow and Washington have a great deal of differences over the issue.
The top Russian diplomat further highlighted that Moscow is working with European signatories to save the nuclear agreement.
Since its withdrawal from the JCPOA, the US has been trying to coerce the European parties to the deal into following its lead and scrapping the agreement.
In June, Russian President Vladimir Putin also warned of the negative consequences of the US' withdrawal in an address to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) heads of state council meeting in Bishkek, saying the parties' compliance with the deal would be the "only logical and correct path."
"While presiding in the SCO, we intend to work to ensure that the parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action fulfill their obligations. We consider this to be the only logical and correct path," the Russian leader said.