“We will exercise our right to respond in a manner of our choosing”


Anticipating an imposition of sweeping US sanctions, threatening the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has issued an English-language appeal in a YouTube video.

Donald Trump must decide by May 12 whether to extend a waiver of sweeping Congressional sanctions. The Administration and its allies such as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have signalled that the waiver will not be maintained, effectively ending the provisoin of the deal between Iran and the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Russia, Germany, Israel).

Iran is warning of a “response” — likely to be a resumption of the enrichment of 20% uranium, which it gave up under the agreement — if Trump proceeds. Tehran is also hoping it can persuade Europe to pursue trade and investment links which are vital for the recovery of the troubled Iranian economy.

The European Union and the European signatories of the agreement have sought to save it through revisions such as an extension of time limits and a parallel deal over Iran’s ballistic missiles. However, the Islamic Republic has publicly held out against any new negotiations.

In his message, Zarif accused Washington of undermining the deal — “The US has consistently violated the agement especially by bullying others from doing business with Iran” — and then turned to Europe:

In the last year or so, we’ve been told that President Trump is unhappy with the deal and it now appears that the response from some Europeans has been to offer the United States more concessions from our pocket.

This appeasement entails promises of a new deal that would include matters we all decided to exclude at the outset of our negotiations, including Iran’s defensive capabilities and regional influence. But please understand on both issues, it is Iran, not the West, that has serious grievances and much to demand.

The Foreign Minister declared the regime’s peaceful history, noting that it has never invaded another country hwile being attacked by others such as Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and said Iranian spending on its military is far less than that by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

He then returned to defiance of any talks to revise the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and his warning of an Iranian response:

We will neither outsource our security, nor will we renegotiate or add on to a deal we have already implemented in good faith.

In the coming days the United States will have to decide whether to finally abide by its obligations. Iran stands firm in the face of futile attempts and bullying. But if the US continues to violate the agreement, or if it withdraws altogether, we will exercise our right to respond in a manner of our choosing….

The US is well advised to finally start honoring its commitments or it and only it will have to accept responsibility for the consequences of not doing so.

British Foreign Office: UK-Iran Commentator Abedin Not Detained

The UK Foreign Office has dismissed reports that Anglo-Iranian dual national Mahan Abedin has been detained in Iran.

The IranWire site reported earlier this week that Abedin has been seized by Revolutionary Guards, citing a source in Tehran. Abedin’s publisher said he was worried about a “long radio silence” from the writer.

See Iran Daily, May 4: Revolutionary Guards Seize More Dual Nationals and Foreign Residents

But the Foreign Office said Thursday that YK officials had been “in contact” with Abedin’s family and “confirmed that he is not currently in detention”.

Officials said they are seeking information about the detention of Aras Amiri, a UK permanent resident who works for the British Council.

Amiri was imprisoned on March 14, but her seizure by the Guards was only revealed this week. She is in Iran to visit her ailing grandmother.

The Guards also detained Imperial College London professor Abbas Edalat on April 15 as he travelled to Tehran for an academic seminar. Two other UK-Iran dual nationals, businessman Kamal Foroughi and charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffee, have been imprisoned since 2011 and 2016, respectively.