The United States’ withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the Europeans’ failure to ensure Tehran’s economic interests under the deal prompted the Islamic Republic of Iran to decide to scale back its commitments under the JCPOA back on May 8. Iran’s decision was based on the provisions stipulated in this very agreement.
On the other hand, Washington’s provocative moves in the Persian Gulf region, which resulted in the downing of a US drone in Iran’s airspace, fueled concerns over the outbreak of another conflict in the Middle East.
These issues prompted journalists who always received biased accounts from the Americans to sit down with Majid Takht-Ravanchi, Iran’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations and a key negotiator to the talks over the JCPOA, to listen to a different account that they had rarely heard.
In the hour-long meeting held at the Iranian mission, numerous questions were raised about the JCPOA, the downing of the American spy drone, Russia and China’s relations with Iran, the security of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, and US presidential elections.
“Iran is committed to rendering the necessary cooperation in order to keep the JCPOA alive, but the other parties to the agreement, too, should allow Iran to benefit from the interests of the deal and should make efforts to make it survive,” Iran’s UN ambassador noted.
“In our opinion, the United States’ anti-Iran policies are to blame for the chaos in the Persian Gulf ,” he said.
“The US pulled out of the JCPOA and, after that, imposed sanctions and took actions against Iran,” he said.
“Sanctions, failure to renew wavers on Iran’s oil sales, the dispatch of a flotilla [ to the Persian Gulf] and other recent moves by the US in the region are among the actions aimed at provoking Iran, but we have exercised restraint, so far,” said Takht-Ravanchi.
“The American drone approached Iranian borders. We warned it four times not to enter our airspace. However, when the aircraft ignored our warnings and violated the country’s airspace, we had to shoot it down for self-defense in accordance with Note 51 of the UN Charter,” he said.
He also touched upon Iran’s proposal to hold a regional dialogue as well as the letter he has written to the UN secretary general in that regard.
“In the meeting I had with the [UN] secretary general, I talked about his mission with regards to Resolution 598. I asked the secretary general to use his authority in the resolution to establish a structure in order to safeguard peace and security in the region, so that regional talks will get underway under the aegis of the UN,” He said.
Iran’s UN ambassador said the Middle East is a wealthy region, and that Iran as well as its neighbours can benefit from those riches if peace exists in regional countries.
“If we get to realize this point, it will be better for all,” he said.
He then referred to the anti-Iran policies adopted by the White House.
“The Americans have orchestrated a policy called the ‘maximum pressure’ policy on Iran, but it should be noted that the US cannot achieve its objectives in the region through the maximum pressure policy on Iran,” he said.
“Some American authorities are seeking a regime change in Iran and their maximum pressure policy aims to achieve this very end, but this policy has only fueled tensions both in Iran-US ties and in the whole region,” the top diplomat said.
Takht-Ravanchi was asked by a reporter on Iran’s recent decision to increase its stockpiles of enriched uranium. In response, the official said Tehran’s decision was in conformity with the nuclear deal.
“Iran’s decision to increase its stockpiles of enriched uranium to more than 300kg was within the framework of the JCPOA. A mechanism is envisaged in the JCPOA for the export of enriched uranium,” the Iranian UN ambassador said.
“What kept us from exceeding the designated ceiling was that it was possible to export it and receive yellow cake in return, but the US government banned that mechanism,” he said.
“Now the US should be asked why it has imposed such a ban. From our viewpoint, Iran’s move to increase its stockpiles is not a violation of the JCPOA; rather, it is in conformity with Article 26 and 36 of the nuclear deal. Based on these very provisions, Iran has the right to breach some of the commitments under the JCPOA,” he said.