Iranian senior diplomat does not rule out Tehran’s immediate withdrawal from nuclear deal

TASS – Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said that If had not been Russia and China, Iran would probably have quitted the JCPOA a few months ago

“I think we have about a year before the [presidential] election in the United States. Unless they find a solution to the JCPOA and the current crisis, I think, in coming months we will come to quitting the JCPOA,” he said.

Nevertheless, according to Araghchi, Tehran will pursue its policy regardless of whoever takes office at the White House after the next presidential election in 2020. The diplomat added that Iran was content with regular consultations with Russia and China over the nuclear deal.

“I can say that if had not been Russia and China, we would probably have quitted the JCPOA a few months ago,” Araghchi added.

According to the Iranian high-ranking diplomat, Moscow and Beijing are “very good partners” for Tehran as Iran is forging bilateral ties with them, including in trade and the economy.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, was signed between Iran and six international mediators (the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Russia, the United States, and France) in July 2015. Under the deal, Iran undertook to curb its nuclear activities and place them under total control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in exchange of abandonment of the sanctions imposed previously by the United Nations Security Council, the European Union and the United States over its nuclear program.

Iran pledged not to enrich uranium above the level of 3.67% for 15 years and maintain enriched uranium stockpiles at the level not exceeding 300 kg, as well as not to build new heavy-water reactors, not to accumulate heavy water and not to develop nuclear explosive devices.

The future of the Iranian nuclear deal was called in question after the United States’ unilateral pullout on May 8, 2018 and Washington’s unilateral oil export sanctions against Tehran. Iran argues that all other participants, Europeans in the first place, ignore some of their own obligations in the economic sphere, thus making the deal in its current shape senseless.

In May 2019, Iran declared the first phase of suspending some of its commitments (60-day suspension of enriched uranium sales). In July, Tehran proceeded with the second phase of the suspension (by declaring uranium enrichment to above 3.67%) and promised to reduce its commitments further on each 60 days unless the other signatories restore compliance with the concluded agreements.

On September 6, Iran said it was proceeding to the third stage of reduction of its nuclear deal commitments and dropped restrictions of research activities.

On November 5, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran would begin yet another phase to reduce its nuclear program commitments as of November 6 by launching centrifuges in Fordow.