Under Iran’s settlement with the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program to satisfy the powers that it could not be used to develop atomic bombs. In exchange, Iran received relief from sanctions, most of which were lifted in January 2016.Trump has given the European signatories a May 12 deadline to "fix the terrible flaws" of the 2015 nuclear deal, or he will refuse to extend US sanctions relief on Iran.French President Emmanuel Macron is on something of a rescue mission for the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He said in a Fox News Sunday interview that he has no "plan B" for the deal and the United States should stay in the agreement as long as there is no better option."President Macron is correct in saying there is no "plan B" on JCPOA," Zarif Tweeted. Iran has said it will stick to the accord as long as the other parties respect it, but will "shred" the deal if Washington pulls out.US allies and rivals spoke out in support of the deal on Monday, bolstering French President Emmanuel Macron's pitch to US President Donald Trump.A nuclear non-proliferation conference in Geneva heard repeated calls for parties to the deal to ensure its implementation and preservation."The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action continues to be the best way to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme and to realise the promised tangible economic benefits for the Iranian people," UN High representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu said.But US non-proliferation envoy Christopher Ford said Iran presented a very real long-term challenge to the non-proliferation regime."Iran (is) a country that for years illegally and secretly sought to develop nuclear weapons, suspended its weaponization work only when confronted by the potentially direst of consequences without ever coming clean about its illicit endeavors," he said."For several more years (it) continued its efforts to enrich uranium in violation of legally-binding UN Security Council requirements, and retains the ability to position itself, several years hence, dangerously close to rapid weaponization." On a visit to Beijing, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he had agreed with his Chinese counterpart to block any US attempt to sabotage the deal."We are against revising these agreements, we consider it very counter productive to try to reduce to zero years of international work carried out via talks between the six major powers and Iran," Lavrov said after talks with the Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi."We will obstruct attempts to sabotage these agreements which were enshrined in a UN Security Council resolution," Lavrov said.EU disarmament envoy Jacek Bylica said the deal strengthened the international non-proliferation regime, contributed to regional and international security and ensured the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program.Cornel Seruta, a senior official at the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the deal had significantly improved access to Iran."In short, Iran is now subject to the most robust nuclear verification regime and Iran is implementing its nuclear related commitments under the JCPOA," he said. "It is essential that Iran continues to fully implement those commitments."
President Macron is correct in saying there's no "Plan B" on JCPOA. It's either all or nothing. European leaders should encourage President Trump not just to stay in the nuclear deal, but more importantly to begin implementing his part of the bargain in good faith.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) April 23, 2018