In a tweet on Thursday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran’s “seriousness of purpose” in pursuing diplomacy was tested in the three years since Trump withdrew from the 2015 landmark nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“Iran—by remaining in the deal—passed with flying colors,” Zarif wrote, adding, “The Biden administration, however, has only shown a commitment to Trump’s maximum pressure.
Zarif’s remarks came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Iran’s move to begin enriching uranium at 60 percent purity “provocative,” saying it raised questions about “Iran’s seriousness” over the ongoing negotiations to revive the JCPOA in Vienna, Press TV wrote.
“We take very seriously its provocative announcement of an intent to begin enriching uranium at 60 percent,” Blinken said at a news conference at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday.
“I have to tell you the step calls into question Iran’s seriousness with regard the nuclear talks, just as it underscores the imperative of returning to mutual compliance with the JCPOA,” he added.
Blinken’s remarks come irrespective of the fact that it was the US that left the JCPOA in 2018 in defiance of international criticism and although the deal was endorsed by the UN Security Council in the form of a resolution. Trump withdrew from the deal on May 2018 and then led a so-called maximum pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic with the aim of forcing Tehran to negotiate what he called “a better deal” than the JCPOA, which was reached under his predecessor, Barack Obama.
While Trump’s gambit failed miserably, Biden, who took over on January 20, has so far kept in place the sanctions that were imposed under the maximum pressure campaign, breaking his election promises of repealing his predecessor’s Iran policy and rejoining the JCPOA.
Iran only started to take remedial measures in 2019 one year after it could not reap economic benefits from the deal in the face of US sanctions and the Europeans’ failure to keep the end of the bargain.
Tehran says its countermaesures taken under Article 36 of the JCPOA are reversible if the US removes its sanctions in a way that can be verified by the Islamic Republic.
Iran’s announcement of its intent to increase the percentage of its enrichment program came days after Iran’s Natanz nuclear enrichment site was hit in an attack that Tehran condemned as an act of “nuclear terrorism” and blamed on Israel.