Iranian envoy dismisses misinterpretations of remarks on NPT

FNA – Iranian Ambassador to London Hamid Baeedinejad rejected a misinterpreted translation of his interview with a British daily, reiterating that his country has not made a decision about leaving the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Baeidinejad insisted that leaving the NPT would not benefit Iran even considering that Tehran has not enjoyed benefits of an international agreement that has imposed restrictions on its peaceful nuclear program.

The Iranian envoy to London said, in a post on Twitter on Saturday, that the failure to save Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with global powers, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), would embolden those who want Tehran to end its commitment to the NPT.

“The failure of the JCPOA naturally would strengthen the idea that Iran should leave the NPT due to inability to enjoy its rights on peaceful nuclear technology,” read part of the tweet which was posted by Baeidinejad to clarify his remarks in a briefing with journalists earlier this week.

The ambassador said, however, that Iran will remain committed to the NPT even more than a year after the United States withdrew from the JCPOA and started pressuring others to disregard their commitments under the deal.

“… The I.R. Iran does not see this option (leaving the NPT) as beneficial to the interests of the country,” said Baeidinejad in his tweet.

The envoy had told reporters that the NPT would be at risk of being in “total jeopardy” when it comes for review in a UN meeting in New York next year.

He said “some circles, some personalities” in Iran believe membership of the NPT is not benefiting the country despite government efforts to convince them otherwise.

However, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi said on Saturday, that Resumption of anti-Iran sanctions adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter would mean that Tehran has been wrong in being fully cooperative with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and engaging in diplomacy and negotiations.

He warned that his country will change its nuclear doctrine if UN sanctions are reinstated.

Speaking at the 2019 Moscow Nonproliferation Conference titled Nuclear Energy, Disarmament and Nonproliferation in Moscow, Araqchi said, “When an agreement entails no benefit for you, there will remain no reason to still abide by your commitments.”

“It is natural that soon we will reach the end of the commitment-reducing process, because there will be no commitment left to be reduced,” the senior nuclear negotiator underlined.

“Why should we remain in this agreement if it is like that Iran should always give in and never receive anything in return?” asked Araqchi.

“We are ready to return to full compliance with the JCPOA on the condition that our JCPOA dividends are guaranteed,” he reiterated.

“Many in Iran, including myself, believe that the policy of zero oil [export] is a gift and a golden opportunity to save our economy from dependence on oil [revenues],” highlighted the senior diplomat.

In response to the question what Iran would do if European countries revived the UN Security Council sanctions, the Iranian deputy foreign minister warned that “with regard to [the snapback of the sanctions] and the trigger mechanism I think we have made it absolutely clear to all participants in the JCPOA that snapback and the return of previous resolutions [of the Security Council] is a red line for Iran.”

He further warned that Iran would revise its nuclear doctrine if Iran’s file was under Chapter VII of the UN Charter again.

Upon arrival in Moscow on Friday, Araqchi had said that protecting his country’s interests is the overriding priority over preserving nuclear deal, adding that it is a universal belief that Tehran is acting sincerely in scaling down its nuclear commitments.

Protecting Iran’s national interests is more important than preserving a deal, Araqchi said.

He made the remarks a day after Iran’s 4th step in reducing nuclear commitments was put into effect at Fordow nuclear site, touching upon the fate of the JCPOA.

“No country in the world would cast doubt on Iran’s good intention in preserving the nuclear deal,” he added, nonetheless, adding, “However, no country in the world would doubt that Iran will keep reducing its JCPOA commitments if it does not benefit from merits.”

“Iran has vividly shown the world, on one side, its determination for fully observing JCPOA commitments, and on the other side, its will to scale back its commitments if other countries fail to deliver on their obligations,” he underlined.

Iran has given diplomacy its fair share and if the situation is not changed, Iran will keep advancing in the path of reducing nuclear commitments, the Iranian diplomat reiterated.

Early on Thursday, Iran resumed injection of UF6 gas into the centrifuge machines installed at Fordow nuclear facility as part of the country’s fourth step to modify nuclear deal undertakings.

The measure at Fordow was taken upon an executive order by President Hassan Rouhani in coordination with the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC).

A cylinder including 2,000 kg of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) was transferred from Natanz to Fordow nuclear site. Then, the cylinder was connected to the feeding lines at Wednesday midnight.

Following the successful technical overhaul, the gas injection to the chains as well as the centrifuges and producing and gathering enriched uranium began at Fordow under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

After the Thursday move, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reassured that his country will continue its diplomatic engagement with countries interested in preserving the nuclear deal, underlining that the 4th step of Tehran’s reduction in nuclear commitments was a natural response to the US destructive moves and Europeans’ inaction.

“We have taken the fourth JCPOA step,” Zarif said on Friday night upon arrival in Turkey to attend the 24th meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).

“We had made it clear that if the measures of other parties do not yield results, we’d take the next steps to decrease our JCPOA commitments,” the top Iranian diplomat said.

“The [Iranian] president announced on the first day of scaling back the JCPOA commitments that we will continue the negotiations despite taking our steps within the framework of the JCPOA,” he said, adding that Tehran started the talks from the very first day and “did not say no to negotiation.”

“We will hold talks with those parties interested in preserving the JCPOA; the French will continue their consultations on the issue, and we will leave the door open for negotiation and understanding,” Zarif noted.