Breaking: Zarif: E3 must act responsibly on Iran deal instead of trying to appease Israel
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran has urged the three European parties to the 2015 nuclear deal to assume their responsibility vis-à-vis the embattled agreement instead of trying to appease the Tel Aviv regime after the French president leveled baseless accusations against Tehran following a meeting with his Israeli counterpart.
Speaking alongside his visiting Israeli opposite number, Reuven Rivlin, on Thursday, France’s President Emmanuel Macron accused Tehran of continuing what he called violations of the nuclear agreement and urged Iran to act “in a responsible way.”
Macron said Iran “must stop aggravating a serious nuclear situation with an accumulation of violations of the Vienna accord,” referring to the remedial measures that Iran has been taking progressively under Article 36 of the agreement — formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — following Washington’s unilateral pullout in May 2018.
Zarif responded to Macron’s remarks in a tweet on Friday, saying the European trio — France, Germany and Britain — are making such a call to Tehran only to “appease a terrorist regime with illicit nukes,” in a reference to Israel, the sole possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East region.
The regime, which is estimated to have at least 90 nuclear warheads in its arsenal, has refused, with the US’s invariable support, to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that is aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.
Prior to the JCPOA’s conclusion, Israel lobbied intensively to torpedo a deal on Iran’s nuclear accord. As the main supporter of Washington’s pullout from the accord, the Israeli regime has likewise been trying to throw a wrench in the JCPOA’s revival through a range of plots such as influencing the International Atomic Energy Agency’s cooperation with Iran.
Zarif further reminded the trio — also known as E3 — that if the JCPOA remained alive following the US’s exit and the European side’s failure to compensate for Washington’s absence, “it was SOLELY because of Iran’s responsible conduct.”
In the face of America’s abrupt withdrawal from the JCPOA, Iran exercised strategic patience and waited an entire year for the remaining signatories to fulfill their end of the bargain by circumventing the economic sanctions that Washington under ex-president Donald Trump re-imposed on Iran.
As the Europeans failed Iran under US pressure, the country resorted to Article 36 of the JCPOA, which allows a party to suspend its contractual commitments in case of non-compliance on the part of the other signatories.
“Instead of coordinating with enemy No.1 of the JCPOA, the EU/E3 & US must act responsibly & comply with UNSCR 2231,” which was adopted by the UN Security Council later to endorse the landmark nuclear agreement, Zarif said.
The future of the JCPOA is currently at the center of a diplomatic dispute between Iran and the United States under new President Joe Biden, who has claimed his administration wants to rejoin the agreement.
Tehran says the US must take the first step towards reviving the agreement by lifting its sanctions in a practical and verifiable manner.
Washington, however, refuses to meet the condition set by Iran, calling on Tehran to stop its legal counter-measures before the US rejoins the agreement.
Toeing America’s line, the Europeans have also called on Tehran to stop its steps under Article 36 of the JCPOA and come to the negotiating table with the US to discuss Washington’s possible return to compliance.
Iran, in turn, says it will not hold any new negotiations on the JCPOA or on Washington’s return, and that the only way to keep the deal alive is for Washington to lift its sanctions in a practical and verifiable matter.