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Nuclear deal exit will prove US isolation: Iran’s FM

Muslim Times(Web Desk) – Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says any possible move by the United States to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran will show how isolated the US is among the international community.

US President Donald Trump is a stern critic of the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany in July 2015.

Under the JCPOA, reached under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.

The US president on January 12 reluctantly agreed to waive sanctions against Iran that were lifted as part of the landmark deal, but threatened to withdraw from the accord if some “disastrous flaws” were not fixed.

Trump said he wanted America’s European allies to use the 120-day period before sanctions relief again came up for renewal to agree to tougher measures and new conditions; otherwise Washington would pull out of the deal.

Speaking to Iranian Parliament’s official news agency, ICANA, on Monday, Zarif said, “The US exit from the JCPOA will show that the Americans are isolated and are no longer trustworthy for international interactions.”

He added that the Islamic Republic would definitely show a strong reaction to a possible US decision to pull out of the JCPOA, stressing that in line with various envisaged plans, Tehran would give an “unpleasant” response to Washington.

Based on various measures likely to be taken by the US president, Tehran has drawn up different plans which have been submitted to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, he noted.

“We are negotiating with other parties to the JCPOA, which include the five other members and the European Union,” Zarif pointed out.

He said extensive talks were held in recent weeks, adding that some signatories to the nuclear agreement carried out measures, “which we believe were not correct,” but certain proper measures were also taken.

The foreign ministers of Germany and France, two signatories to the nuclear agreement, on Monday expressed their countries’ firm determination to preserve the multilateral agreement.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Berlin saw no reason to scrap the nuclear deal and vowed to do everything possible to uphold it.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also said in Berlin that France, Britain and Germany would preserve the nuclear deal with Iran irrespective of the United States’ decision later this week, because it is the best way to avoid nuclear proliferation.

In an article in The New York Times on Sunday, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called on the US president not to scuttle the Iran nuclear deal.

Johnson, who is in Washington to persuade the Trump administration to remain in the international accord, said that “it would be a mistake to walk away.”

In a related development, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi also on Monday warned that the US will further lose international trust if it decides to pull out of the multilateral nuclear agreement.

Speaking at his weekly press conference, Qassemi said Washington would have to pay a heavy price in case of a withdrawal from the deal.

He added that the lack of commitment on the part of the US was nothing new, but its decision to scrap the JCPOA would present a clearer image of the country to the world and would prove that no country can trust the US anymore.

“Iran will not be the first country to violate the JCPOA and if the JCPOA fails to be beneficial to us and serve the [Iranian] nation and our society, we will take necessary decisions,” the Iranian spokesperson said.

A senior advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Sunday that if Americans opted to quit the nuclear deal, the Islamic Republic was ready to counter their measure in a proportionate manner.

“If Americans decide to withdraw from the JCPOA, the Islamic Republic of Iran will undoubtedly take measures proportionate to conditions that they want to impose and will make them regret [their decision],” Ali Akbar Velayati, the Leader’s senior advisor on international affairs, added.

A senior Iranian lawmaker also said on Saturday that any violation of the multilateral nuclear deal would further undermine America’s standing in the world.

“Any violation of or threat to violate the JCPOA by the US will practically tarnish the country’s international credibility and will prove that the US cannot be trusted in the international scene,” Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy Alaeddin Boroujerdi said.

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