The remarks were made by Mohammad Javad Larijani, the secretary of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights and a senior theoretician, in a televised interview on Wednesday night.
“Although we might fulfill [our obligations under] JCPOA, we should announce we have no legal commitment to JCPOA … There are lots of interesting moves we can take to show the world we are not bound to the deal but we are still working to see how much would they cooperate,”.
Following the US withdrawal from the accord, Tehran has announced its continued commitment to the deal is conditional on EU’s binding guarantees assuring Iran its interests will be served if it remains in the deal.
The EU has offered Iran a support package to compensate for the US pullout, which obliges the European Investment Bank to support EU firms willing to enter Iranian markets, and creates a special payment mechanism, known as Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), to facilitate trade with Iran.
Iran has announced the package is acceptable at the macro level, but talks on the details of the package have led to nowhere after several months, much to Iran’s frustration.
As recent as last week, Iran’s top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif warned Europe Tehran is not going to wait forever so they compensate for the US withdrawal from the nuclear pact, lamenting the European parties to the pact are dragging their feet.
Rouhani’s Mistakes in Talks
Larijani said there have been big mistakes in the government’s approach during the nuclear talks that led to the 2015 deal and following the US withdrawal.
He said Iran’s basic demands are not being met under the JCPOA and the country does not benefit from the deal.
“We had two indicators on JCPOA. The first indicator is that we should be able to freely sell our oil within our [OPEC] quota. Second, the banking system should allow us to spend oil revenues as we like. These two were our conditions for the talks but they were not met,” he said.
Larijani said the Iranian government had basically negotiated the JCPOA with wrong assumptions.
The theoretician said the Rouhani government argued that limiting Iran’s nuclear work is required for the Iranian economy to improve, while this assumption happened to be untrue.
The government talked of a win-win approach towards the talks, while the nuclear dispute between Iran and the West could not be subject to a win-win approach, as the western side held no respect for Iran’s rights and was doing its best to trample on Iran’s rights, Larijani said.
Moreover, the government believed we would be attacked by western armies unless we reach a deal, while this was not true, he said.
Larijani said the government should have adopted a step-by-step approach, refusing to fulfil all its obligations and wait for the other party to do Iran a favour by taking necessary steps.
No Commitment, No Withdrawal
Larijani said Iran should not be bound to JCPOA, although it doesn’t need to announce withdrawal from the pact.
“The world should not think we are responsible to take all steps and they should fulfil their commitments whenever they liked. We have no international commitment,” he said.
Larijani said Iran should stop honouring minor obligations, including allowing inspections of nuclear sites.
“JCPOA is a dead contract, but this is an international issue and our options are much more … than simply walking out of the deal,” he said.