Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Seyed Abbas Araqchi said the country has not made a decision whether to leave or stay in the 2015 nuclear agreement following the US withdrawal from the international pact, also known as JCPOA.
“We have not come to a decision whether or not to remain in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) yet,” Araqchi said before a JCPOA joint commission meeting due to be held later on Friday.
Iran’s decision to stay in the nuclear deal hinges on how the remaining parties to the deal (Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany) would make up for the lack of one of the JCPOA members (the US), he added.
“The European countries should tell us how they would be able to secure Iran’s interests in the JCPOA in the absence of the United States and with the return of the country’s sanctions,” the deputy foreign minister noted.
The remarks came after a number of Iran’s top diplomats and administration officials on Sunday attended a closed session of the parliament about the future of the JCPOA.
Last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a tight diplomatic trip for negotiations on how to save the JCPOA in the wake of the US withdrawal from the multilateral nuclear deal.
The foreign minister held meetings with Chinese and Russian officials in Beijing and Moscow and then traveled to Brussels for talks with the European parties to the JCPOA.
He was gauging international readiness to guarantee Iran’s interests if it decides to remain in the nuclear pact a week after US President Donald Trump announced that the US was walking away from the JCPOA.
In a speech from the White House on May 8, Trump accused Iran of sponsoring terrorism and seeking nukes before announcing the US withdrawal from the 2015 agreement between Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany).
Following the controversial decision, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran weighs plans to remain in the agreement with the other five parties, provided that they ensure full benefits for Iran.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has underlined that any decision to keep the deal running without the US should be conditional on “practical guarantees” from the three European parties to the JCPOA.