Iran’s ambassador to the UK has described Tehran’s fourth step in reducing its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal as a “wake-up call” for Europe to rescue the deal, stating that the European parties to the agreement would have to pay costs to maintain the agreement.
Speaking at a meeting with representatives of British newspapers and mainstream media at the Iranian embassy in London on Thursday, Hamid Baeidinejad said if some partners and the signatories fail to live up to their commitments, it is natural that the treaty cannot be continued unilaterally.
He noted that Iran’s efforts and some of the JCPOA parties have so far failed to return the agreement to its normal course, adding that Iran has adopted a “wake-up” policy in order to force the parties to find a solution to get out of the current bad situation.
Iran’s ambassador to London said that the Islamic Republic has long been fulfilling its unilateral commitments, and the IAEA has so far confirmed Iran’s compliance 14 times, but the other parties have not yet fulfilled their commitments.
He said one plan in the current situation might be the complete withdrawal of Iran from the deal, which would certainly be the end of the JCPOA, but Iran is not after destroying the agreement.
Instead, he explained, Iran has adopted a policy to warn the other side and give it time to live up to its commitments. “Iran’s move gives diplomacy and negotiation a chance again.”
He reiterated that reducing Iran’s commitments as enacted at the highest levels in the country would now continue every two months until the desired outcome is achieved, but the opportunity would not be unlimited.
According to the ambassador, all of these actions are reversible, and as soon as the other parties fulfil their obligations under the agreement, all such measures will be stopped and conditions will be restored.
“Iran has taken the fourth step in reducing some of its commitments on Thursday. This reduction is taking place at the Fordow facility. The facility has operated about 1,000 centrifuges without gas, which Iran has decided to inject uranium gas into.”
Baeidinejad reiterated that Iran’s goal is to preserve the JCPOA fully and not to terminate it.
The ambassador introduced Iran’s fourth step as a warning to the other party, pointing out that it is now up to other parties to take this step seriously and find a solution to their obligations. Referring to the upcoming Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) conference in New York next year, he said failure to do so would undoubtedly lead to a weakening of the NPT.
He further accused the US of being gripped by illusion, saying that Washington thought leaving the deal was a means to put pressure on Iran to harm the Iranian economy and society.
Baeidinejad pointed out that the misconception on the part of the US would also damage the NPT.
At the end of his remarks, Iran’s ambassador expressed hope that the country’s new step would be a wake-up call to the remaining parties in the JCPOA as well as the international community.
Europe, Not US, Audience of Iran’s Message
In response to a reporter who asked if Iran’s goal was to send a message to the US to return to deal, he said the US is out of the deal and no longer a member of the accord.
“Now our main addressee is Europe. It is the Europeans’ duty to fulfil their obligation. We are not dealing with Washington. Now the Europeans are our addressees. However, it’s not our problem whether European countries have to coordinate issues with the United States to fulfil their commitments.”
The Iranian ambassador said that in addition to the three European nations of the UK, Germany and France, the European Union is also a signatory, adding that it would not carry a good message for the international community if the European powers admit they have no control over their economic, trade and national security priorities and cannot fulfil their obligations without the US’ permission.
Responding to another question about the possibility of talks with Washington, he noted that the US now has the illusion that it could harm Iran’s economy and society. Given this illusion, no dialogue with the United States that can change its hostile behaviour is possible.
“Even the US conditions and their announcement of readiness to start negotiations are part of this generally hostile strategy,” he underlined.
Talks Possible Only If US Changes Policy
According to him, America’s goal is not to resolve the crisis, but to send other nations the message that it has succeeded in forcing Iran to surrender and bringing it to the negotiating table.
Iran’s ambassador went on to describe the US policies as untruthful, saying that negotiation is only possible when Washington completely changes its policy towards Iran, and by lifting sanctions it returns to the nuclear deal with Iran.
He also emphasised that Europeans should seriously consider that they must pay costs to preserve the deal and benefit from it. According to him, Europe must solve its problem with the US because the US is no longer a member of the JCPOA, and Iran is not holding talks with the US anymore.
Stating that trade between Iran and Europe has decreased sharply and Iran has no choice but to find alternatives for its economic and trade deals, he pointed out that Russia and China have fulfiled their commitments regarding Iran and they have good business with Iran at the moment.
No Link between Iran’s Nuclear Decisions, US Elections
He further rejected any link between Iran’s recent policy of reducing its commitments to the US election and trying to keep the agreement alive until Trump’s successor is elected, adding that the Islamic Republic does not link its policy to the US election.
In response to a question about Iran’s possible withdrawal from the NPT, Baeidinejad referred to the fatwa of the Leader of Islamic Revolution that Iran would not seek nuclear weapons at all.
However, he said there are some people inside Iran who argue that Tehran has not benefited from the NPT membership and has only paid the costs.
He, nevertheless, reiterated that the government is trying to convince these people that leaving the NPT is not in Iran’s interest.
Responding to a question about China and Russia’s opposition to Iran’s recent move to reduce its commitments, he said those countries had not objected, and just said they understand Iran’s concerns and stance. However, they, like Iran, are unhappy with non-implementation of the JCPOA.