Iran Daily: Zarif Takes The Nuclear Case to Europe

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif with European counterparts, Brussels, Belgium, January 11, 2018 (John Thys/Reuters)

Zarif: “Unfortunately, one of the parties to the JCPOA has not only failed to fully live up to its commitments”


Continuing his diplomatic tour over issues with the July 2015 nuclear deal, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met European officials on Thursday.

Zarif, who began his journey in Moscow to confer with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, held discussions with the European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. They were joined by the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany, and the UK, all signatories to the nuclear agreement.

Iran is concerned about ongoing US sanctions, despite the deal, which may be expanded by the Trump Administration. The restrictions have hindered Iranian economic recovery, adding to pressure that has been seen in recent protests across the country.

The approach of the Rouhani Government has been to try and detach Europe from the US, emphasizing Iran’s compliance with the terms of the deal as verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Mogherini bolstered that line on Thursday, “The deal is working; it is delivering on its main goal which is keeping the Iranian nuclear program in check and under close surveillance.”

She continued:

At a time of acute nuclear threats, the European Union is determined to preserve the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] as a key element of the international non-proliferation architecture. The European Union remains committed to support the full and effective implementation of the agreement, including to make sure that the lifting of the nuclear-related sanctions has a positive impact on trade and economic relations with Iran, including benefits for the Iranian people.

Mogherini did caution Zarif about Europe’s concern over Iranian ballistic missile testing and development. Her words echoed those of French President Emmanuel Macron, who said in the autumn that a separate agreement is needed to cover the issue.

The UK’s Boris Johnson, France’s Jean-Yves Le Drian, and Germany’s Sigmar Gabriel all expressed ongoing support for the nuclear deal. In a statement directed at the US, Gabriel said Europe is resolved to protect the agreement “against every possible undermining decision”.

Zarif followed up, “Unfortunately, one of the parties to the JCPOA has not only failed to fully live up to its commitments, but it has also pursued destructive policies in this regard.”

On Friday, Donald Trump will decide whether to extend a waiver of some US sanctions that have been mandated by Congress.

Data Establishes Protests in Almost All Iranian Cities

Writing for The Washington Post, Peyman Amadzade presents a quantitative analysis of the scale and scope of the protests across Iran since December 28.

From December 28 to January 3, there were protestsin 72 cities and 29 of 31 provinces. Of the cities where at least one protest rally took place, 73% had a population of less than 380,000. The population of 25% of cities was less than 105,000.

Amadzade explains the significance:

First, small cities in Iran are generally apolitical. Second, small cities tend to be more religious, so the Islamic Republic’s restrictive policies on social issues — a major source of dissatisfaction for the middle-class population of big cities — do not concern most inhabitants. Third, since residents know one another and are aware of each other’s activities in small localities, joining anti-government protests in small cities mean they are more likely to be identified and arrested by the government. This makes anti-government protests extremely costly in small cities.

The researcher posits economic causes. Of 32 cities that the studies, “the unemployment rate in 81% of small cities that joined protests is higher than the official average of the country, which is 12.7%”. But he also cites environmental concerns and adds that economic motives cannot be separated from political issues:

The unexpected involvement of towns and small cities in the recent demonstrations exhibits how unemployment can become a basis of political action and trigger radical anti-government protests that challenge the entire political system.

Related Posts

Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.


  1. Iran’s atomic bombs are being assembled in North Korea. Iranian technicians and IRGC personnel have been spotted in North Korea. NK makes a lot of money, and Iran gets to learn how to make the bombs and the rockets, and run its centrifuges there free of inspection. It is a win-win for them. This possibility has been reported in the press, but is unclear how extensive this program may be.

  2. “Iran is concerned about ongoing US sanctions, despite the deal, which may be expanded by the Trump Administration. The restrictions have hindered Iranian economic recovery, adding to pressure that has been seen in recent protests across the country.”
    There has been no economic recovery for Iran because the Iranians have spent their money on war against the Syrian people. Then of course there is Yemen and ––!

  3. Full Trump statement on Iran:

    “I am open to working with Congress on bipartisan legislation regarding Iran. But any bill I sign must include four critical components.

    First, it must demand that Iran allow immediate inspections at all sites requested by international inspectors.

    Second, it must ensure that Iran never even comes close to possessing a nuclear weapon.

    Third, unlike the nuclear deal, these provisions must have no expiration date. My policy is to deny Iran all paths to a nuclear weapon—not just for ten years, but forever.

    If Iran does not comply with any of these provisions, American nuclear sanctions would automatically resume.”

    This is a last chance. In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal.

    May 12th is the final deadline. Make a note of that in your calendar.

  4. “Data Establishes Protests in Almost All Iranian Cities”

    Not really, The word for city/town in Persian is “شهر” . This can mean a city the size of Tehran, with 8 million, or it can mean a “city” the size of Ezgeleh in Kermanshah (almost destroyed by the recent earthquake) with just 1,500 souls. There are well over 1000 “cities” across Iran and so the figure of 72 represents just a small fraction. However, it is true that the recent protests were far more widespread throughout the country than the Green Movement protests of 2009, largely confined to Tehran and a few other places, ever were.

Leave a Comment