(Persia Digest) - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the country will go ahead with the third phase of scaling back its nuclear deal commitments under the “current circumstances”.
“We have said that if the JCPOA is not fully upheld by other signatories, we will also reciprocally scale back our commitments and this is, indeed, all within the JCPOA framework,” Zarif said on Saturday.
Press TV writes that Tehran has rowed back on its nuclear commitments twice in compliance with articles 26 and 36 of the 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Zarif underscored that it is only up to Iran to decide whether or not to keep reducing its obligations.
Iran says its reciprocal measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the Iranian economy from unilateral US sanctions which were imposed last year when President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal.
European signatories of the JCPOA have so far failed to uphold their commitments. They have expressed vocal support for the deal, but failed to provide meaningful economic incentives as required under the nuclear agreement.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has criticized Europeans for their failure to fulfill their commitments under the 2015 landmark nuclear deal.
The Europeans have already missed a 60-deadline set by Tehran, prompting Iran to go for the second phase of cutting its commitments on July 7, which marked the start of a second such deadline for them.
As a first step Iran increased its enriched uranium stockpile to beyond the 300 kilograms set by the JCPOA.
In the second step, Tehran began enriching uranium to purity rates beyond the JCPOA-limit of 3.76 percent.
Iran has warned that it may push forward with 20% uranium enrichment and resume previous activities at the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor in a third nuclear commitment containment.
Iran says its next step in reducing commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal will be stronger, with 20% uranium enrichment being an option.
The Iranian foreign minister on Saturday said the other JCPOA signatories hold the US accountable for the situation.
“All member states of the JCPOA joint commission have unanimously concluded that the US has caused all these tensions, that Iran’s demands were clear from the beginning and that it never expected anything beyond the JCPOA,” he said.
The European Union says none of the signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal believe Tehran’s scale-down measures are a significant noncompliance.
'An honor to defend Iran'
The Iranian top diplomat’s remarks come after being officially sanctioned by the Trump administration last week.
The US Treasury Department said in a statement that Zarif is Iran's "primary spokesperson around the world," and that the ban "is sending a clear message that Iran's "recent behavior is completely unacceptable.”
“It was the people who endured the pressure and it was the people who stood by us and it was the people who supported us as we engaged in negotiations,” he said.
“We owe our security to our people, without the people, we are nothing,” he concluded.
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