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EghtesadOnline: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on the United States to first show goodwill by respecting the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, saying Iran will then return to full compliance.

“America can return to the time before its exit from JCPOA … If the US honors its original commitments, Iran will also show its adherence,” he said, addressing a virtual Mediterranean Dialogues forum on Thursday, IRNA reported. 

He used the abbreviation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name of the nuclear deal from which the US withdrew unilaterally in 2018 and restored tough sanctions on Tehran. 

Tehran has responded by scaling down its own commitments in several steps that it has declared will be reversed once it can fully enjoy JCPOA’s economic benefits.   

President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to rejoin the deal, if Iran were to resume strict compliance. 

Zarif said Washington is not in a position to set conditions as it has violated a UN Security Council resolution by reimposing pressure on Iran.

“It needs to respect international regulations first,” he said.

He noted that the US has exited JCPOA, but not the United Nations, and still has to meet its commitments under the UNSC Resolution 2231 that endorsed the agreement. 

Biden has also said he would work with allies “to strengthen and extend” the nuclear deal. 

Iran’s top diplomat said JCPOA was negotiated for two years and will not be renegotiated. 

“The timings in JCPOA were subject of negotiation and compromise, and even talk of it is a sign of ill-will,” Zarif said.

He added that Iran might engage in talks about issues beyond the deal only when Western countries end their destructive policies in this region.  



Measures Not Irreversible 

The top diplomat also pointed out that the nuclear deal was signed on the basis of mistrust, allowing one party to suspend compliance once the other signatory refused or fails to meet its commitments. 

He also criticized Europe for claiming it is committed while it is practically not. 

“We don’t see any European companies in Iran; we do not see any European country buying oil from Iran; we do not see any European banks send us hundreds of million pounds of our money,” he said, adding that commitment does not involve mere passage of several laws.   

The three European parties have not yet even condemned a recent assassination of an Iranian top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, he regretted.  

The terrorist attack has aroused indignation in Iran, prompting the parliament to pass a law with a high urgency that requires the government to suspend more commitments under JCPOA, including cessation of adherence to the Additional Protocol of its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the UN nuclear watchdog. 

As per the law, the measures must be implemented within two months as of the adoption day, if Iran’s benefits under the deal are not restored completely. 

The Guardians Council also approved the law on Wednesday after extending its timeframe from one month to two months.  

Zarif said although the administration is opposed to this law, it will nonetheless implement it, but that would not be irreversible. 

“The law is aimed at persuading the US and Europe to fulfill their commitments … In that case, not only there will not be any obligation for the implementation of the law, but previous measures will also be rescinded and JPCOA will be implemented completely,” he said.