Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – Iran’s foreign minister insisted on Thursday that his government has implemented its 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers fully and in “good faith” – just days after Israel and the Trump administration accused the Iranians of lying about the nature of their nuclear work at its outset.
Javad Zarif, who has remained Iran’s top diplomat since negotiating the deal during two years of talks, spoke to an international audience in a YouTube video.
“Iran will not renegotiate what was agreed years ago and has been implemented,” Zarif said. “Let me make it absolutely clear, and once and for all: we will neither outsource our security nor will we renegotiate or add onto a deal we have already implemented in good faith.”
Zarif’s warning comes amid threats by US President Donald Trump to withdraw from the agreement by May 12, unless European nations party to the deal – France, Britain and Germany – agree to make “substantial fixes.” Reuters reported on Thursday that Trump has “all but decided” to withdraw, and to allow nuclear-related sanctions on Iran that were suspended under the nuclear deal to snap back into effect.
Trump wants international inspectors to have greater and faster access to potential nuclear sites in Iran, including those suspected to be housed in its military facilities; an end to its ballistic missile work, which it says is inextricably tied to the delivery of nuclear warheads; a permanent extension of limits on Iran’s enrichment of fissile material, which currently sunsets within a decade; and a comprehensive policy addressing Tehran’s military posture across the Middle East.
Paris has led an effort to address these points in a new round of negotiations that would keep the existing nuclear deal – formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – in place. But Tehran said on Thursday that this, too, would be unacceptable.
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“Even if US allies, especially the Europeans, try to revise the deal... one of our options will be withdrawing from it,” state television quoted Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, as saying.
Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believe they fueled the argument for a US withdrawal this week after Israel unveiled a cache of Iran’s nuclear-weapons files, obtained in a Mossad raid in Tehran earlier this year.
The files – declared “authentic” by the US government – document Iran’s extensive work on nuclear weapons, including planned site tests, miniaturization of warheads and ballistic missile delivery vehicles.
Trump and Netanyahu say the archive, stowed secretly in a warehouse by top Iranian officials and undeclared to the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency despite being required by the deal to disclose all their past nuclear work, reveals Tehran’s true intentions under the 2015 accord – and that its entry into the agreement was based on “lies.”
“The problem is, the deal was made on a completely false pretense. Iran lied on the front end,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders earlier this week. “They were dishonest actors – so the deal... was made on things that were not accurate, particularly the fact that Iran’s nuclear capability was far more advanced and further along than they indicated.”
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