Iran will not renegotiate nuclear deal; Says Javad Zarif

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said U.S. demands to change its 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers were unacceptable as a deadline set by President Donald Trump for Europeans to “fix” the deal loomed.

“Iran will not renegotiate what was agreed years ago and has been implemented,” he said in a video message posted on YouTube. “Iran stands firm in the face of futile attempts at bullying,”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. (Source: Reuters)

“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,” he said referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

He also rejected efforts to renegotiate the deal, saying: “We will neither outsource our security nor will we renegotiate or add on to a deal we have already implemented in good faith.”

Britain, France, and Germany remain committed to the accord as is, but now, in efforts to keep Washington in it, want to open talks on Iran’s ballistic missile program, its nuclear activities beyond 2025 – when key provisions of the deal expired – and its role in Middle East crises such as Syria and Yemen.

A senior adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also warned Europeans on Thursday over “revising” the nuclear deal, under which Iran strictly limited its enrichment of uranium to help allay fears this could be put to producing atomic bomb material, and won major sanctions relief in return.

The European signatories to the deal have been trying to persuade Trump to save the pact, reached under his predecessor Barack Obama. They argue it is crucial to forestalling a destabilizing Middle East arms race and that Iran has been abiding by its terms, a position also taken by U.S. intelligence assessments and the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency.

Trump faces a May 12 deadline to decide whether to keep the US commitment on the nuclear deal – renew the agreement’s prescribed sanctions relief for Iran – or withdraw from it.

Major European banks and businesses continue to shun the Islamic Republic for fear of falling foul of remaining U.S. sanctions, hampering Iran’s efforts to rebuild foreign trade and lure much-needed foreign investment to its economy.

Sources: Reuters, Al Jazeera

Irfan Ansari

The Kootneeti Team – Middle East Monitor

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