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We Had a Deal: Will US Hostility Compel Iran to Reconsider Nuclear Defense?
Iranian officials remain at odds over how Tehran should respond to Washington’s plans to slap a new round of sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Some even say that Tehran should withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said last week that Tehran will withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) “as soon as it feels that the advantages of the nuclear deal fall behind its costs and disadvantages.””The Islamic Republic of Iran will honor the JCPOA as long as it enjoys the benefits of the JCPOA,” Araghchi was quoted by Tasnim News Agency as saying.
Ali Akbar Salehi, Vice-President of Iran and head of its Atomic Energy Organization, said in turn that Americans are trying to force Iran to pull out of the nuclear deal by using “sanctions provocations.”
“Why should we break this deal? We must act wisely and not succumb to anger and these [US] tricks,” he said.
The JCPOA, which was clinched in July 2015, lifts nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Iran in exchange for assurances that Tehran’s nuclear program will remain peaceful. According to the deal, the sides also agreed to refrain from policies intended to affect Iran’s trade and economic relations.
Meanwhile, experts continue to speculate on how Iran’s national interests will continue to benefit from the nuclear deal in the wake of the new US sanctions and the so-called “red line” for Iran’s withdrawal from the JCPOA.
Iranian political analyst Hassan Beheshtipour told Sputnik Iran that the “red line” could be a scenario where Tehran would have to backtrack on its promises to Moscow and the P5+1 group in order to retaliate against US anti-Iranian sanctions.
The P5+1 refers to the UN Security Council’s five permanent members, including China, France, Russia, Britain and the US plus Germany, which joined together in diplomatic efforts with Iran concerning its nuclear program.Touching upon the JCPOA, Beheshtipour said that US President Donald Trump “wants the US interests to be guaranteed to the maximum, and not the way it is stipulated by the Iranian nuclear deal.”
“That is, he shows excessive ambition and wants to get more than what the Obama administration agreed to when signing the JCPOA. Speaking globally, the JCPOA does have any points that contradict the interests of the United States,” Beheshtipour said.
On benefits for Iran’s national interests, he recalled that “Iran expected the JCPOA to help it continue the process of enriching uranium under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).”
“These interests were guaranteed. Also, it was important to dispel false accusations that Iran is creating an atomic bomb, an issue that was resolved with the help of the IAEA. Here again, Iran’s interests have not been violated,” Beheshtipour pointed out.
As for the third part of the nuclear deal, one of the most important, it pertains to the lifting of sanctions. The bulk of the sanctions were scrapped but there are still about 250 restrictions, according to him.
“Moreover, the US Congress is now trying to re-establish some of these sanctions under the pretext of the threat of Iran’s missile program and its alleged support of terrorism. At the end of the day, all this may turn the JCPOA into an ineffective deal and prompt Iran to withdraw from this agreement,” Beheshtipour said.
He recalled in this regard that US Senator Bob Corker earlier said that it is Iran, not the United States that should pay for the flop of the JCOA and that Washington should pave the ground for it.
“Iran, which has long been aware of this insidious plan of the US, remains on heightened alert. That’s why Tehran is unlikely to withdraw from the JCPOA unilaterally. Now the ball, as they say, is in the US court,” Beheshtipour said.
He added that Washington “must explain to the international community why, despite the fact that Iran has fulfilled all its obligations, the United States still wants to turn the JCPOA into an ineffective deal.””As for the ‘red line’, if US allies such as Britain, Germany, France, as well as Iran’s main trading partners, including China, India, Russia, South Korea and South Africa, adhere to Washington’s demands, Iran will be forced to take extreme measures, namely, suspend the nuclear deal’s implementation,” Beheshtipour said.
“But if Europe, to be more exact Germany, France and Britain England, as well as Russia, China, India, Australia and Japan support Iran, the Islamic Republic will honor its obligations and will not withdraw from the JPCOA,” he concluded.
A senior Iranian official says the country will meet Washington’s breach of the 2015 nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and world countries, including the US, with a set of “coordinated” countermeasures.
“Iran’s countermeasures against the US lack of commitment to the JCPOA will be coordinated and [conducted in] parallel [with one another],” Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said on Wednesday.
He was referring to the agreement, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), by its acronym.
The comments come as the US is about to impose a new round of sanctions against Iran over its national missile program. The draft sanctions law, which also targets Russia and North Korea, has passed the US Congress and needs President Donald Trump’s signature to become law.
Senior Iranian authorities, including President Hassan Rouhani, have vowed a decisive response to the planned sanctions, which they argue are in violation of both the spirit and letter of the JCPOA.
Iran and the P5+1 group of countries — the US, the UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany — inked the deal in July 2015. It lifted nuclear related sanctions on Iran, which, in turn, put certain limits on its nuclear work.
The United Nations nuclear watchdog has invariably certified Iran’s commitment to its contractual obligations since January 2016, when the deal took effect. The US, however, has prevented the deal from fully yielding. Washington has refused to offer global financial institutions the guarantees that they would not be hit by American punitive measures for transactions with Iran.
“A host of retaliatory measures in the legislative, technical, nuclear, economic, political, defense, and military areas, have been devised by the body monitoring the JCPOA, which will be pursued in a coordinated way and in parallel with each other,” Shamkhani added.
He added that “the US’s arrogant policies could only be confronted through dependence on national power and capabilities,” Shamkhani said.
Shamkhani further said the current US administration’s “lack of perceptiveness and creativity” in its attitude towards Iran serves as an opportunity for the Islamic Republic’s diplomatic apparatus.
The nuclear agreement has not reduced US enmity towards the Iranian nation, he said, noting that one of the reasons behind Washington’s disappointment at the current status quo is its failure to change Iran’s principal regional policies under the post-JCPOA circumstances.
The official further said the Iranian nation has an inalienable right to develop its missile might, which serves as a deterrent in the face of threats, stressing that the country’s defense capabilities are not up for negotiations.