TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mhammad Javad Zarif has questioned the commitment of three European parties to the nuclear deal of 2015 signed between Tehran and major world powers after the trio claimed that Iran risks losing the opportunity to fully realize the agreement by starting to produce uranium metal.
In a statement on Friday, Britain, France and Germany, also referred to as the E3, said, "In escalating its non-compliance, Iran is undermining the opportunity for renewed diplomacy to fully realize the objectives of the JCPOA.”
The statement was referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
"We strongly urge Iran to halt these activities without delay and not to take any new non-compliant steps on its nuclear program,” it added.
In a post on his Twitter account, Zarif dismissed the statement. He said whatever Tehran had carried out after Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA was in line with Paragraph 36 of the deal, which provides a mechanism to resolve disputes when parties believe other signatories are not fulfilling their obligations.
He expressed doubt if the trio have "ever read Paragraph 36 of the JCPOA and Iran’s many letters on that basis” and asked, "What have E3 done to fulfill their duties?”
"By what logic is the onus on IRAN to stop its remedial measures undertaken a full year after the US withdrew from—and continues to violate—the JCPOA?” the top Iranian diplomat tweeted.
The E3 statement came after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Wednesday that Iran has started producing uranium metal.
IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi informed member states of Iran’s new move, the statement added.
A senior Iranian official reaffirmed that Tehran will return to full compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal only after the U.S. lifts all sanctions imposed on the country.
In an interview with the official website of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi elaborated on the Iranian administration’s position on the future of the nuclear agreement, which has been in crisis since the U.S.’s unilateral withdrawal less than three years ago.
Araqchi said in order for Iran to resume its commitments under the multilateral agreement, the White House must lift the sanctions that the administration of ex-president Donald Trump placed on Iran, including those stipulated in the deal and the bans imposed on the country under new pretexts.
"The U.S. must remove the sanctions in full, not in words or on paper, but in practice,” Araqchi told khamenei.ir. "We will verify that, and whenever we feel the
sanctions are lifted in a proper manner, we will, for our part, return to our commitments” under the agreement.
Araqchi further said "the U.S.’s return to the JCPOA matters to us only when that will lead to the removal of the sanctions,” adding, "This is a completely rational position. What we are currently doing… is a reaction to the measures the US has adopted.”
"The U.S. wanting to rejoin deal without lifting the sanctions would be a non-starter,” said Araqchi, who served a senior nuclear negotiator involved in the negotiations that culminated in the JCPOA.
Commenting on the damages inflicted on Iran by Washington’s exit from the deal, the official said Trump’s policy of "maximum pressure” cost Iran a lot, but Islamic Republic "paid the price and defeated” that campaign.
"The issue of compensation related to the JCPOA will be a serious topic in future negotiations,” Araqchi added.