Following Iran’s latest suspension of commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, a senior official emphasizes that “national interests” are more important than the agreement.
Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told reporters at the Moscow Nonproliferation Conference on Friday:
No country has any doubt about Iran’s goodwill to preserve the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).
[But] there is no doubt that if Iran is not enjoying the JCPOA’s benefits, it will continue to scale back its commitments under the JCPOA.
On Tuesday, President Hassan Rouhani confirmed Iran’s fourth step suspending commitments, with injection of gas into advanced centrifuges for uranium enrichment.
Since late June, Iran has protested against the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal and comprehensive sanctions — as well as a failure to establish a European link to bypass those sanctions — by exceeding the deal’s limit on stocks of 3.67% enriched uranium, raising enrichment to 4.5%, and installing the advanced IR-4 and IR-6 centrifuges.
On Thursday, Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said that Iran could return to its pre-2015 position — which included production of 20% uranium, potentially enriched to 90% for a military nuclear program — if the remaining 5+1 Powers (UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia) did not uphold the agreement.
Araqchi warned yesterday that “Iran would continue to reduce its commitments in case of no change in the current circumstances”.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took a more conciliatory line in an interview on State TV on Friday night:
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.
[However] the President [Rouhani] 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….
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.
Last Sunday the Supreme Leader belittled French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been trying to mediate between Washington and Tehran, and rejected any negotiations with the Trump Administration.