Cleric lauds Iran’s decision to halt some JCPOA commitments

Tasnim – Tehran’s Provisional Friday Prayers Leader hailed a recent decision made by Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) to halt some of the country’s commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Addressing a gathering of worshippers here in Tehran on Friday, Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Javad Haj Ali Akbari described the SNSC’s decision as “legal” and said it was made in response to the US moves to renege on the JCPOA and the European governments’ failure to meet their obligations under the deal.

“This a measure that could have been taken last year after the US withdrawal (from the JCPOA) but it was taken with delay and showing much patience,” the cleric added.

“Although it is a minimal measure, it would be an important step to strengthen Iranians’ power,” he said, adding that God willing, the next steps will be taken without delay.

“We support this appropriate and revolutionary action and we are confident that it will be followed by the opening up of many (opportunities),” Hojjatoleslam Haj Ali Akbari noted.

The SNSC issued a statement on Wednesday, saying the country is no longer fulfilling some of its obligations under the JCPOA, and setting a two-month deadline for the remaining parties to fulfill their undertakings.

“At the current stage, we are not committed to complying with restrictions on the keeping enriched uranium reserves and heavy water supplies,” the SNSC stated.

The statement came a few days after the US administration renewed five of seven sanctions waivers that allow Russia and European nations to conduct civilian nuclear cooperation with Iran but revoked the other two as part of its pressure campaign against Tehran.

On Friday, May 3, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo extended the waivers, which were due to expire Saturday, for 90 days, shorter than the 180 days that had been granted in the past.

The waivers permit work at several Iranian nuclear sites to continue without US penalties. Under the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, Russia and several European nations help maintain the facilities.

Washington also stopped issuing waivers to buy Iranian crude oil on May 2.

Before the US moves, Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, had warned against their consequences.

On May 8, 2018, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the JCPOA.

Following the US withdrawal, Iran and the remaining parties launched talks to save the accord.

The European Union has vowed to counter Trump’s renewed sanctions on Iran, including by means of a new law to shield European companies from punitive measures, but it has so far failed to do anything beyond making statements.