EghtesadOnline: Iran's top diplomat said Iran would consider withdrawing from the Non-Proliferation Treaty, if its nuclear file is sent to the United Nations Security Council.
Mohammad Javad Zarif was referring to the 2015 nuclear deal's dispute resolution mechanism that has been triggered by the three European parties following Iran's final step of reducing its commitments in response to the US withdrawal and reimposition of sanctions, according to Financial Tribune.
If the dispute is not addressed throughout the process, it could culminate in the UN Security Council with the so-called "snapback" of global sanctions on Tehran.
"If the case is referred to the Security Council, the idea of withdrawing from NPT would be brought up, but before that, other plans could be placed on the agenda," Zarif told ICANA on Monday after attending a parliamentary hearing.
He said Iran is pursuing the matter with a focus on the fact that Europe's activation of the mechanism is legally groundless.
"Iran officially initiated the dispute resolution process in May 2018, following the US exit from JCPOA," he said, using the abbreviation of the nuclear deal's formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
According to Zarif, Iran announced the start of the procedure in three letters in May, August and November 2018 to the then European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, as coordinator of the JCPOA Joint Commission that oversees the implementation of the deal.
In the November letter, he explained, Iran stressed that it has "triggered and exhausted" the mechanism and is, therefore, compelled to implement the plan to scale back its commitments to JCPOA.
"After the mentioned letter, Iran gave the EU seven months and in May 2019 began reducing its compliance, which became effective two months afterward," he said.
Zarif added that based on the same letters, if Europe takes another step along this line, pulling out of NPT would be an option for Iran.
"Iran has taken five steps away from its JCPOA commitments and does not aim to take another step [within this framework]. If Europeans hang on to this … political games, … we have multiple options," he said.
Apart from withdrawing from NPT, which is an international treaty on preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, Iran could also reduce or stop its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog.