US exit from JCPOA to give Iran free hand in its nuclear activities

IRNA – If the US leaves the July 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Tehran will see no more reason to continue its self-imposed restriction on its nuclear activities, a senior Iranian diplomat said on Sunday.

There will remain no reason for Iran to remain committed to its self-imposed restrictions on nuclear activities if the US breaches the deal and leaves it, Hamid Reza Asefi, former Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, told Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

Us President Donald Trump, since taking office in Jan 2017, has adopted contradictory stances on various global issues, said Asefi, adding that changes in Trump’s team and the appearance of radical persons in his cabinet prove the president’s obstinacy in dealing with the nuclear deal officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Asefi, who has also been Iran’s former ambassador to Paris, referred to global developments regarding the JCPOA saying the German chancellor and the French president are to travel to US to negotiate the Iran deal.

Asefi said this indicates that the Europeans are working at different levels [to save the JCPOA].

Elaborating on the March 5 visit of the French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to Tehran and the occupied lands, the former diplomat said that such developments implied nothing with regards to the JCPOA.

Referring to proposed talks between US and North Korea, Asefi said Trump wants to negotiate with Pyongyang but if he withdraws from the Iran deal, the negotiations (with North Korea) will come under a big question.

If Trump has a methodical mind, he will never think about withdrawing from the 2015 deal, the Iranian diplomat stressed.

Asked about Iran’s reciprocal measures to such a withdrawal, Asefi said Tehran will make decision at the ‘highest level’ about staying in or leaving the deal while the US expenses will surely go up.

Different choices will be on the table for Iran in case of US withdrawal, Asefi said, noting that the country can quickly move toward 20-pecent or even higher level of uranium enrichment or it can speedily make changes in Fordo and Arak sites and take other measures in connection with its missile program.

The Europeans, Asefi said, sees JCPOA as a security agreement, the security which is very important for them.

In the wake of the US green light, the Europeans entered into the [nuclear] talks, so if Washington leaves the deal, its credibility before the Europeans will come under question, Asefi said, adding that the US will anyhow be the loser and cannot justify its irresponsible act.