2021-March-3 20:38
Politics
2021-February-19  14:15

Rouhani Asks EU to Stand against US Bullying Policies

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani lauded the role of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in preventing unilateralism in the world, and urged the EU to act properly in confronting the US bullying policies.

Rouhani made the remark in a phone call with the European Council’s President Charles Michel on Thursday evening.

He described the JCPOA as an “important achievement for multilateral diplomacy” and stressed the role of the EU's foreign policy chief in converging efforts for planning future steps.

The president underlined the need to develop relations with the EU, especially in the field of economy, saying, "Given the recent developments in the world, we must try to facilitate relations between Iran and the EU."

Michel, for his part, emphasized the maintenance of the JCPOA as a global treaty and stressed its full implementation by all signatories.


European Council’s President Charles Michel

He also referred to Europe's position to support the JCPOA after the US illegal and unilateral withdrawal.

“The Council of Europe must use the opportunity to maintain and fully implement the UN Security Council by all parties, and the EU will play its role in this regard,” Michel noted.

In relevant remarks, Rouhani in a phone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel had said that there is no way for parties to the nuclear deal to save the agreement but persuading the US to lift the inhumane sanctions against Iran.

During the conversation on Wednesday, Rouhani categorically dismissed the possibility of injecting new items into the already negotiated nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was struck on July 14, 2015 between Iran and six world powers – the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

“The JCPOA, as a document approved by the UN Security Council and a product of sustained efforts by Iran and six major countries in the world, has a clear framework and cannot be changed,” he told Merkel.

Hinting at Europe’s lack of commitment to the JCPOA in the aftermath of the US withdrawal, Rouhani said Iran should be able to see the effectiveness of the nuclear deal in practice, and Europe should practically prove that it is really after maintaining the JCPOA.

Rouhani said his administration is committed to further reduce the country’s undertakings under the JCPOA, unless the sanctions are lifted, in which case “we will also completely implement our obligations within the framework of the JCPOA”.

Merkel, for her part, called on Iran to take steps to ensure its return to full compliance to the JCPOA.

“She expressed her concern that Iran continues to fail to meet its obligations under the nuclear agreement,” Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement.

“It is now time for positive signals that create trust and increase the chances of a diplomatic solution,” the chancellor said, according to Seibert.

Iranian Government Spokesman Ali Rabiyee announced on Tuesday that the country will stop the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the NPT due to the US and other parties’ disloyalty to the nuclear deal.

“Based on the sixth paragraph of the parliament’s bill and given the fact that sanctions have not been removed so far, the government and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) are required to suspend the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol which will decrease the supervisions and inspections beyond the IAEA’s safeguards agreements,” Rabiyee told reporters in a press conference.

He noted that the measure does not take time and can be carried out rapidly, but meantime, said Iran is still a member of the safeguards agreements, which means that a major part of the inspections which are not within the framework of the Additional Protocol will continue.

“Therefore, stopping the voluntary implementation of the protocol does not mean terminating cooperation with the Agency. This cooperation will continue and the Islamic Republic of Iran will definitely inform the Agency of all its moves in advance in a letter, as has been the case so far,” Rabiyee said.

“It is clear that this new measure is against Iran’s will and was adopted due to the US lagging in lifting sanctions and fulfilling its obligations under the UN Security Council Resolution 2231. We continue to consider the nuclear deal a creditable agreement and the best possible agreement, and we are ready to immediately reverse all steps taken under paragraph 36 of the nuclear deal to their original status as stated in the nuclear deal provided that the US and other parties to the agreement revive their undertakings,” he added.

Rabiyee expressed the hope that the US and three European members of the nuclear deal (France, Britain and Germany) would take the closing window of opportunity to keep diplomacy alive.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that his country will halt the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) next week in case other parties continue to defy their nuclear deal undertakings.

“The Iranian government is required to suspend the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol next week, according to the parliament approval, if the obligations of the other parties have not been fulfilled by that day. This move does not take time and can be implemented in a day,” Khatibzadeh told reporters in a press conference in Tehran on Monday.

“Accordingly, inspections beyond the safeguards agreements will be stopped, and this means the supervisions that Iran has accepted within the framework of the Additional Protocol and it does not mean stopping all supervisions. Iran will keep fulfilling some of the inspections, but the Additional Protocol will definitely be stopped,” he added.

Yet, Khatibzadeh underlined that Iran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will continue and will inform the IAEA of its moves in a letter, reiterating that all the actions done by Iran are easily reversible, provided that the other parties return to their obligations.

“Unfortunately, the US continues to follow the wrong path of the previous administration, and what is happening today is no different from what was underway before January 20, and the maximum pressure and crime against the Iranian people and disregard for international laws continues today too,” he added.

Last month, Iranian Envoy and Permanent Representative to the UN Majid Takht Ravanchi underlined that if Biden decides to return to the nuclear deal, Washington should comply with all its undertakings in exact accordance with the internationally-endorsed agreement.

“We make decision and take reciprocal action considering Biden's moves vis a vis the nuclear deal. We have repeatedly demanded the US to return to the nuclear deal and this return should be complete and without preconditions, that is to say, no issue related or unrelated to the nuclear deal should be put forward for discussion,” Takht Ravanchi said.

“It should only be clear that the US international undertakings cannot be half-fulfilled. If they claim to return to the nuclear deal, this return should be accompanied by the full implementation of their undertakings with no hesitation or controversy,” he added.

Takht Ravanchi stressed Iran’s clear position towards the nuclear deal, and said, “We live up to our undertakings.”

He referred to the parliament’s bill to take strategic measures to counter the US sanctions against Iran, and said, “There is a timetable in the parliament’s bill and we are moving in the same direction, so we (at the foreign ministry) are not entitled to specify the period for how long we will wait. In the first place, we make decisions based on national interests, and secondly, we should act on the basis of and within the framework of the parliamentary bill.”

His remarks came after Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi announced that the country is at present producing nearly half a kilo of uranium enriched to the 20% purity level, meantime, saying that Tehran’s steps to reduce nuclear deal undertakings after the West’s disloyalties can all be backtracked.

“Based on the latest news I have, they (the Iranian scientists at nuclear installations) are producing 20 grams (of 20% enriched uranium) every hour; meaning that practically, we are producing half a kilo every day,” Salehi said in an interview with the Persian-language Khamenei.ir website released last month.

“We produce and store this 20% (enriched uranium) and if they return to the nuclear deal, we will return to our undertakings too,” he added.

Asked about the recent bill approved by the parliament to adopt strategic measures to remove sanctions against Iran, Salehi said that the AEOI is required to implement it.

“It is a reality and both the government and the AEOI have declared that they do not have any technical problems with implementation of the parliament’s bill and we launched 20% enrichment within 24 hours,” he said.

Salehi also underlined the need for Washington to remove all sanctions against Iran, specially those which prevent the country’s oil sales and banking transactions.

Iranian legislators had in January praised the AEOI for restarting enrichment of uranium at 20-percent purity level, and called for the full implementation of the recent parliamentarian law to counter the illegal US sanctions against the country.

In a statement, 190 legislators expressed their support for the AEOI’s resumption of 20% uranium enrichment and urged the body to fully and precisely implement the law ratified as a counteractive move to the sanctions illegally imposed on the country, especially those by the United States.

The lawmakers said the parliament approved the ‘Strategic Counteractive Plan for Lifting Sanctions and Safeguarding Rights of Iranian People’ to highlight Iran’s legitimate right to use peaceful nuclear technology and the importance of lifting all cruel sanctions against the country.

The Iranian parliamentarians in a meeting on December 1, 2020 ratified the generalities of a bill to adopt strategic measures to remove sanctions against the country and defend the nation’s interests.

The lawmakers, in November, had given the green light to the single-urgency of the strategic motion, but the plan turned into a double-urgency on Sunday after the assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh's car was targeted by an explosion and machinegun fire in Damavand's Absard 40 kilometers to the East of Tehran on Friday November 27, 2020.

Under the bill, the AEOI is required to start in two months after the approval of the present bill to produce at least 120 kg of 20%-enriched uranium annually at Fordow nuclear site and store it inside the country, increase the enrichment capacity and production of enriched uranium to at least 500 kg per month, start the installation of centrifuges, gas injection, enrichment, and storage of materials up to proper purity levels within 3 months, via at least 1000 IR-2m centrifuges in the underground part of Shahid Ahmadi Roshan facility in Natanz, transfer any enrichment, research, and development operations of IR-6 centrifuges to the nuclear site of Shahid Ali Mohammadi in Fordow, and start enrichment operation via at least 164 centrifuges and expand it to 1000 by the end of 20 March 2021 (end of the Iranian calendar year) and return the 40 megawatts Arak heavy water reactor to its pre-JCPOA condition by reviving the heart (calandria) of the reactor within 4 months from the date of the adoption of this law.

Also, the government is required to suspend the nuclear deal-based regulatory access under the Additional Protocol and beyond within 2 months after the adoption of the law based on the articles 36 and 37 of the nuclear deal.

Iran signed the JCPOA with six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia, and China — in 2015. 

Trump, a stern critic of the historic deal, unilaterally pulled Washington out of the JCPOA in May 2018, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism in an attempt to strangle the Iranian oil trade, but to no avail since its "so-called maximum pressure policy" has failed to push Tehran to the negotiating table.

In response to the US’ unilateral move, Tehran has so far rowed back on its nuclear commitments four times in compliance with Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, but stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the mutual trade from the US sanctions.

Tehran has particularly been disappointed with failure of the three European signatories to the JCPOA -- Britain, France and Germany -- to protect its business interests under the deal after the US' withdrawal.

On January 5, 2020, Iran took a final step in reducing its commitments, and said it would no longer observe any operational limitations on its nuclear industry, whether concerning the capacity and level of uranium enrichment, the volume of stockpiled uranium or research and development.

Meantime, Biden has recently said in a CNN article that he wants a renegotiation of the contents of the deal before he agrees to rejoin the agreement.

“I will offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy. If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations. With our allies, we will work to strengthen and extend the nuclear deal's provisions, while also addressing other issues of concern,” he wrote, mentioning that he wants changes to the contents of the nuclear deal and guarantees from Tehran that it would be open for compromise to strike multiple deals over its missile and regional powers as well as a number of other issues that have been the bones of contention between the two sides in the last four decades.

In response, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had stressed that the US has violated the nuclear deal and is in no position to ask for any conditions for its return to the JCPOA, adding that it's Tehran that has its own terms to allow the US back into the internationally endorsed agreement.

The foreign minister has reiterated time and again that Tehran would not change even a single word of the agreement, and cautioned the US that it needs to pay reparations for the damage it has inflicted on Iran through its retreat from the nuclear agreement and give enough insurances that it would not go for initiating the trigger mechanism again before it could get back to the deal.

In relevant remarks earlier this month, Spokesman for the AEOI Behrouz Kamalvandi said his country enjoys the capability to produce 120 kg of uranium with 20% purity in 8 months, that's 4 months faster than the one-year period required by a recent parliament approval.