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Renegotiating JCPOA impossible: Iran VP

Iran’s vice president for economic affairs has ruled out any possibility of reopening negotiations on a 2015 international nuclear agreement between the Islamic Republic and six other countries.

“Renegotiation is impossible because… neither Iran nor Europeans, China, and Russia would participate in any renegotiation of the JCPOA,” Mohammad Nahavandian told the US news network CNN on Monday, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the nuclear deal is officially called.

He said Iran would remain committed to the deal “as long as all other parties are supporting” it and Tehran “sees that benefits of this agreement are in place.”

“But if the result of the new American stance would be negating the effects of the agreement, then it would be up to Iran to rethink the position,” Nahavandian added.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump delivered an anti-Iran speech in which he said he would not be certifying Iran’s compliance with the terms of the JCPOA under a domestic American law, kicking a decision to Congress over whether to restore sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The Congress has been waiving those sanctions as part of American obligations under the nuclear deal. But the domestic US law requires presidential certifications of Iranian compliance every 90 days. Trump has twice before offered that certification.

“I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal’s many serious flaws,” Trump said, threatening that the deal would be “terminated” if he could not “reach a solution working with Congress and our allies.”

While the Trump administration has offered some detail on potential work at Congress, it was unclear how the White House intended to work with other countries on the Iran deal. The US’s allies in Europe have for long been supported the agreement, and since Trump’s Friday speech, they have only grown more outspoken in their expressions of support.

Just after the speech, the EU’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, said the deal was an international one and “it is not up to any single country to terminate it,” in an explicit dismissal of Trump’s threat.

Later, the foreign ministers of all EU members states held a meeting, chaired by Mogherini, in Luxembourg, expressing their determination to fully implement the international nuclear agreement.

In his interview, Nahavandian referred to that fact that Trump’s “stance on the nuclear deal… does not have any chance of being supported by others.”

‘Trump’s missed chance’

He also denounced Trump’s “very negative rhetoric against Iran and Iranian people,” saying, “I think Mr. Trump lost an opportunity as a new president to start a new constructive initiative towards Iran.”

Trump’s speech, he said, reminded the Iranian people of all the US “hostilities” toward Iran “starting from a CIA-orchestrated coup against the legitimate government in Iran in 1953 to the support that the US government gave to [Iraqi dictator] Saddam [Hussein] during the eight years of war.”

The JCPOA was reached between Iran and the P5+1 countries — namely the US, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany — in July 2015 and took effect in January 2016. Under the deal, Iran undertook to apply certain limits to its nuclear program in exchange for the termination of all nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran.

Trump, who rose to the US presidency a year after the implementation of the deal had begun, has been opposed to it.

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