Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reminded the US and the three EU parties to the 2015 nuclear deal that the remedial actions against their failure to honor the accord entail a rise in Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium.
Iran is obliged by law to continue its retaliatory nuclear steps if the US refuses to lift the sanctions, as the country’s stockpile of enriched uranium will continue to grow, Zarif said in an interview with Press TV on Sunday.
He also noted that when previous US president Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal, knonw as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018, Iran was in possession of no more than 300 kg of enriched uranium, but by the time Joe Biden took office in Washington, the Islamic Republic had 3,800 kg of the material, and in June the reserves would probably rise to some 5,000 kg.
Zarif also said Biden has spurned predecessor Trump’s Iran policy in words, but has so far pursued the same course of action in practice.
“Nothing has changed. Biden claims that Trump’s policy of maximum pressure was maximum failure… But for all practical purposes, they are pursuing the same policy,” he said.
Zarif reiterated that Washington would not be able to return to the JCPOA unless it removed the sanctions, adding, “The US is addicted to sanctions, bullying, and pressure. But it doesn’t work for a country with millennia of history. We have had a global empire that lasted longer than the United States’ history.”
“Therefore, with Iran pressure does not work, and ‘maximum pressure,’ in their own words, has led to ‘maximum failure,’” he said.
The Americans, he said, have to “open their eyes, make a sober assessment of the past, not only with Trump, and realize that with this country only respect works.”
The US has not gained any leverage against Iran through its unlawful sanctions, on the contrary the restrictive measures have only helped Iran diversify its economy away from oil, the minister said.
“Trump left the (nuclear) agreement hoping that Iran’s government would crumble. Now, he’s gone, and we’re still here… I think that’s a good lesson. Seven consecutive US presidents are gone. Every one of them wanted to get us out. All of them are out. We’re still here,” Zarif added.
The top diplomat reminded that Paragraph 36 of the JCPOA enables Iran to take “remedial action” against failure by other sides to implement their obligations.
The Islamic Republic was not violating the agreement, but it was simply implementing the remedial steps that it is entitled to in line with the pact, the top diplomat noted.
He referred to a parliamentary law that obliges the Iranian government to take the latest step in its retaliation, namely the planned suspension of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s short-notice visits of the country’s nuclear program. The law, he said, was not a “warning to the world,” but a “domestic” interaction between the government and the legislative body that holds the government responsible.
Zarif dismissed any assertion on the part of the US or its European allies in the JCPOA that “we signed a number of instructions” as per the international agreement.
“It’s not just signing, it’s the impact,” Zarif said, noting how the US allies failed to implement even a single one of their obligations following Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the agreement.
“European companies listen to Washington more than they listen to them (European governments). I believe they do have the ability to change the behavior of their companies,” he added, regretting the submissive nature of Europe’s behavior towards Washington.
Referring to other political maneuvering under Trump, which saw his administration trying to activate a so-called snapback mechanism to return all UN sanctions against Iran, Zarif said the snapback is a US-made term that does not actually exist within the JCPOA.
The US came up with the term to control the public opinion concerning Iran, he added.
“All the sanctions must be removed; the United States must gain reentry to the JCPOA. It’s not automatic; it’s not a revolving door,” Zarif said, adding the concept of snapback was not at all incorporated in the text of the JCPOA; rather it was “an American distortion.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, Zarif said that those alleging that the JCPOA has to encompass more subject matters than it already has should be sure that it will “absolutely not.”
Zarif also deplored the occasional leaking of Iran-related information from the IAEA’s depository, saying the information has to retain its confidential aspect.
The foreign minister said he would raise the issue of confidentiality with the IAEA chief during their meeting later on Sunday. “Anything between us and the IAEA should remain confidential,” he noted, recalling how Iran’s peaceful nuclear sites had been attacked and its nuclear scientists assassinated in the past.
On the IAEA director general’s visit to Tehran, Zarif said, “Mr. Grossi, the director-general of the IAEA, requested to come here so that we could have a smooth transition… We have nothing to hide. Iran does not seek to develop nuclear weapons. The decision is based on sound geopolitical facts and religious and moral grounds… and that decision stands without any ifs or buts.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Zarif noted that the Israeli regime possesses the Dimona nuclear facility, which he called the sole “nuclear bomb factory” in the Middle East, yet a recent report by The Guardian about secret expansion of the facility was not met by even an “expression of concern” on the part of the US or its European allies.
Therefore, while the Israeli regime is allowed to go ahead with such non-conventional activities, any talk about concerns about Iran’s peaceful nuclear energy program is “nonsense,” Zarif said.
“It’s hypocrisy… Because if they were concerned about non-proliferation, Israel is not a member of the NPT; it’s proliferator number one,” Zarif concluded.