Iran: Countdown Begins for Stopping Voluntary Implementation of Additional Protocol
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said the US seems reluctant to return to its nuclear deal undertakings, and warned that the countdown has begun for Tehran to stop voluntary implementation of the additional protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as February 23 nears.
Araqchi said in a televised program on Saturday that since the United States appears unwilling to lift the illegal sanctions against Iran, Tehran has decided to put into effect the parliamentarian ultimatum of February 23 on halting of voluntary implementation of the NPT additional protocol.
"He (Biden) did not explicitly say that he would return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, but announced his readiness to return to the talks,” he said, adding, “It seems that they have not yet been able to overcome internal tensions and reach a unified policy to return to the JCPOA."
"No one can question Iran's goodwill regarding the JCPOA. We negotiated in good faith and by reaching an agreement, we fully observed our commitments, and even after the US withdrawal from the deal, we remained in it for up to a year and fulfilled our obligations. 15 IAEA reports prove Iran's adherence to its obligations," the diplomat noted.
"If the JCPOA is still alive, it is because of Iran's policies and the Europeans have no share in it, except for the action that stood in the Security Council against the US for the implementation of Snapback," Araqchi continued.
Referring to the IAEA Chief Rafael Grossi's visit to Tehran, he said, "Grossi's trip has nothing to do with Iran's decision and Iran's decision will be implemented. He has come to Tehran to establish a new order in relations between Iran and the IAEA."
"We agreed to provide more oversight to inspectors under the JCPOA, including accepting the voluntary implementation of the additional protocol," the official said, adding, "According to Iranian parliamentary law, these measures beyond the additional protocol should be stopped and the number of inspections will be reduced."
"Supreme Leader made it clear that the action of other parties is important to us. We will return to our commitments after verifying their actions," he underscored.
In relevant remarks on Saturday, Iranian First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri reiterated the country’s position that Tehran will reverse reduction of its nuclear deal undertakings only after verifying removal of the US sanctions.
“As the Supreme Leader has said, we will fulfill our undertakings based on the nuclear deal after verifying revival of undertakings by the US,” Jahangiri said.
He added that as said by the Leader, Iran’s strategy against the US economic war is resistance.
In relevant remarks on February 7, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said that his country will not take steps to return to its nuclear deal undertakings unless it will be able to verify the US practical measures in removing the sanctions against Tehran.
"Iran has fulfilled all its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal, not the US and the three European countries ... If they want Iran to return to its commitments, the US must lift all sanctions first," Ayatollah Khamenei said, addressing the Iranian Army Air Force commanders and staff on the anniversary of the historical pledging allegiance of Air Force commanders with late Imam Khomeini in 1979.
He underlined that the side with the right to set conditions to return to the JCPOA undertakings is Iran since it abided by all its commitments, not the US or the 3 European countries which breached theirs, adding, “If they want Iran to return, the US should lift all sanctions. We'll verify and if it's done properly, we’ll return to our undertakings."
“This is the definite policy of the Islamic Republic and it is also agreed upon by the officials of the country and we will not return from this policy,” Ayatollah Khamenei said, stressing that no one in Iran listens to what the US and European officials say about preconditions for lifting sanctions.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said last Monday that his country will halt the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) on February 23 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.
“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.