Europe Cautioned Against Any Wrong Nuclear Move
EghtesadOnline: President Hassan Rouhani warned European signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal against adopting a wrong approach toward the nuclear issue like the United States’ withdrawal from the agreement in 2018.
"European friends should not commit a mistake … America has made a grave error and will face it [the ensuing repercussions]; do you also wish to make a mistake?" he said at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, President.ir reported.
US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and restored sanctions on Iranian economy in 2018, according to Financial Tribune.
The remaining parties vowed to protect Iran’s interests, but the European signatories failed to fulfill their pledges, compelling Iran to scale back its JCPOA commitments to balance the deal.
Following the final phase of the rollback of commitments, the three European countries, namely France, Germany and Britain, recently activated the deal's dispute resolution mechanism to address Iran's compliance issue.
"What an arrogant remark is it for a state to say that I don't meet my commitment, but you must meet yours," Rouhani said, pointing out that Europe has not delivered on any of the promises it made after the US exit.
He also censured Europe's initiation of the dispute resolution process under the US pressure.
The Washington Post had reported that Trump's administration had threatened Germany, France and Britain with imposing a 25% tariff on European car exports, if they fail to accuse Iran of violating the deal just a week before they jointly triggered the deal's dispute mechanism.
German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer later confirmed at a press conference that "this expression or threat, as you will, does exist".
Under the dispute mechanism, the issue could be eventually referred to the United Nations Security Council and culminate in the restoration of global sanctions on Tehran.
"I stress to the three European countries that if you commit a violation or breach a commitment, you will be the ones that bear all the consequences," he said.
Iranian officials have stated that if the issue is sent to the UN, Iran would have multiple options, including withdrawal from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and reducing cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog.
Rouhani emphasized that Iran has not abandoned the deal, does not aim to destroy it and has reduced its compliance within the JCPOA framework.
He added that Iran would reverse its moves the moment Europe fulfills its own commitments; otherwise, any slogan, assembly or threat would be "worthless".
Macron’s Tough Words
In recent remarks, France's President Emmanuel Macron stated that Paris will not change its stance on Iran's nuclear activities, adding that France is determined to ensure Tehran never acquires nuclear weapons.
"In the current context, France is determined that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon, but also that we avoid all military escalation in the region," Macron said on Wednesday, following a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sputnik reported.
Rouhani reiterated that Iran has never sought to build a nuclear weapon.
"Even if JCPOA and [IAEA] safeguards [for inspecting the peaceful use of nuclear materials] collapse and whether Iran's relations with IAEA are good or bad, we will never seek nuclear weapon," he said.
He cited the religious order of Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei that bans the production and use of weapons of mass destruction.
The president next pointed to the importance of the upcoming parliamentary elections, calling on the people to actively participate.
"An important part of [a country's] social and legal eligibility comes from the people … and that is why we invite people to cast their ballots," he said.
Rouhani noted that the only way to ensure a majority of eligible people go to the polls is by ensuring the elections are “sound” and “competitive”.