President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that Iran maneuvered with political skill following the United States’ withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal to prove that “American lawbreakers” are to blame for any shortfalls with regard to the agreement.
Speaking on the fifth anniversary of the conclusion of the Iran deal on Wednesday, Rouhani said Iran diplomatically engaged six world powers to prove that it is a peace-seeking country and that the securitization of its nuclear program long attempted by the US and Israel is baseless.
“Since the beginning [of the diplomatic engagement], an evil triangle of Zionism, reactionary stance, and hardliners in America were opposed [to diplomacy with Iran],” the president said, detailing attempts by the deal’s opponents to throw a wrench into the works as it was being negotiated and after its conclusion.
“America’s current regime was delusional, and with hardliners at the helm, it was unable to foresee the consequences of its actions,” he said, a reference to US President Donald Trump administration’s unilateral withdrawal from the Iran deal in 2018 with intense lobbying by Israel and Saudi Arabia.
The deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was reached on July 14, 2015 between Iran and a group of countries then known as the P5+1 — which included the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany.
In May 2018, Trump unilaterally pulled his country out of the JCPOA and reimposed the sanctions that had been lifted under the deal. He also imposed secondary sanctions on third parties that sought to do business with Iran, effectively targeting the European parties to the deal.
Verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran remained fully compliant with the JCPOA for an entire year, waiting for the co-signatories to honor their commitments and offset the impacts of the US withdrawal.
But, as the European parties continued to renege on their obligations, the Islamic Republic moved to scale down its commitment to the deal in a gradual format and based on the provisions of the deal itself that addressed a party’s legal rights in case of non-performance by other parties.
President Rouhani said the US had wanted to elicit a sudden Iranian withdrawal and then blame the deal’s failure on Tehran.
“Their objective was for Iran to be recorded in history as the party that broke the deal, meaning that America would do something and then Iran would put the entire JCPOA aside and withdraw from it, and they would say later that it was Iran that left the deal,” the Iranian president said.
“Iran’s artfulness and adroitness, since 2018, when America trampled on [its] political, moral, and legal obligations, was in not allowing the [American] plot to materialize and proving to the world that the main party to blame is law-breaking America,” Rouhani said.
He said the United States’ own allies and a large part of the American nation now acknowledge that the US’s withdrawal from the Iran deal worked to the disadvantage of the American people and America’s friends.
On Tuesday, the European Union (EU) pledged to do everything possible” to preserve the landmark nuclear deal with Iran over the objections of Washington.
“We should not assume that an opportunity will arise again in the future for the international community to address Iran’s nuclear program in such a comprehensive manner,” Rouhani added.
Western countries had formerly accused Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program. Tehran long denied the allegation and ultimately negotiated with the six countries to prove it has a civilian program only. The JCPOA was the culmination of those negotiations.
Rouhani further called on the remaining parties to the JCPOA to safeguard one of the main achievements of the deal by terminating the UN arms embargo on Iran, warning that obedience to the US would deal a severe blow to multilateralism.
He said Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany face a test in the coming weeks, which is preserving the achievement of the JCPOA by ending the arms embargo on Iran.
“The Group 4+1 must realize that today, it is not only a matter of Iran’s interests or Iran’s relations with them or Iran’s relations with regional countries. What matters today is the issue of saving international law, the issue of multilateralism, and the issue of value of international agreements,” he said
The president also warned the parties to the JCPOA that careless moves and being influenced by the US would deal a major blow to international laws and regulations as well as multilateralism. “This would be to the detriment of all parties.”
Rouhani also emphasized that Iran has not and will not become isolated, contrary to US objectives.
Although it is no longer a party to the deal, Washington has recently launched a campaign to renew the embargo on the sales of conventional weapons to the Islamic Republic that will expire under the JCPOA in October.
To try and rationalize its bid, the US says it is still “named” as a JCPOA partner in Resolution 2231 of the UN Security Council which ratified the deal. Tehran and other JCPOA partners say Washington, due to its unilateral withdrawal, has forfeited all rights to have any say in the agreement.
The US recently served the UNSC with a draft resolution on extension of the arms embargo, with US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft saying Washington will push the Council to vote on the draft as soon as mid-July.
Washington has threatened to force a “snapback” of all sanctions against Iran if its drive to renew the arms embargo failed.
Iran to E3: Fulfill JCPOA commitments
The Iranian Foreign Ministry also issued in a statement on Wednesday on the fifth anniversary of the JCPOA.
The ministry urged the European parties to the nuclear deal to live up to their obligation, which has been the target of the US’s “illegal” and “destructive” moves, stressing Tehran’s resolve to take “decisive” action against any “irresponsible behavior” undermining the UN-endorsed document.
The ministry said that the deal is an important achievement of multilateral diplomacy, which has been strongly supported by the international community, is in serious danger on its fifth anniversary.”
It called on the international community to prevent the historic deal from becoming yet another victim of Washington’s “unilateral and unlawful” approach by ensuring “the balanced implementation” of the accord by all parties.
The statement highlighted that Washington and those following in its footsteps must exclusively accept the repercussions of their policies.
“The international, legal, technical, strategic and political capital of this agreement has been deeply eroded on its fifth anniversary, due to the destructive and illegal actions of the United States,” said the statement.
“The remaining participants of the JCPOA are aware of this and by consensus are of the view that the root cause for the current situation is the continuing violations of UNSCR 2231 and the JCPOA, and ultimately the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from an agreement reached after years of hard multilateral negotiations,” it said.
The US government’s noncompliance with its obligations under the JCPOA and Resolution 2231, together with the other parties' lack of seriousness in restoring the lost balance, have complicated the circumstances surrounding the deal, and have effectively prevented Iran from reaping the benefits of the JCPOA, including the removal of nuclear-related sanctions, it said.
This is while Tehran remained fully committed to its end of the bargain, the statement added.
Unfortunately, the situation took a turn for the worse and the rights and obligations enshrined in the agreement, which were agreed upon during complicated negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 states need to be reminded to the remaining JCPOA signatories as well as UN member states, it said.
It then described JCPOA as a negotiated diplomatic solution to the peaceful settlement of a fictitious crisis over Tehran’s civilian nuclear program, saying, “Iran entered the negotiations seriously and with a view to the future, and implemented the outcome of the negotiations in good faith. Transparency and confidence-building voluntary measures, beyond the obligations under the Safeguards Agreement, [were] part of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s efforts to reassure the international community of the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program."
Regrettably, Iran did not enjoy any economic benefits from the removal of the sanctions, which the US reinstated following its withdrawal, and it is once again witnessing attempts by some enemies of the JCPOA to reopen already-closed files and completely destroy the achievements of the nuclear deal, the Foreign Ministry said.
Iran has so far had constructive and extensive cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is corroborated by the number and volume of inspections, said the statement, adding, “Any attempt to misuse the IAEA to put pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran is inconsistent with the provisions of the JCPOA, and in addition to tarnishing the IAEA's credibility.”
The Iranian Foreign Ministry also warned the remaining signatories against involvement in US conspiracies, particularly attempts to destroy and weaken the UN’s arms embargo system.
It said while Iran is ready to implement all provisions of the deal, “it is determined to take decisive action against any exaggeration and irresponsible behavior.”
Tehran, the statement added, “strongly urges the E3 (France, Britain and Germany) to adhere to their commitments, and to preserve and fully implement the UN Security Council [resolution] instead of moving in the direction of the US maximum pressure policy.”
The ministry also praised China and Russia’s constructive actions and positions at the UN Security Council, the IAEA Board of Governors, and the JCPOA’s Joint Commission to protect and implement the JCPOA.
Press TV and Tasnim contributed to this story.