1144 GMT August 16, 2018
Iran government’s spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht said Tehran will withdraw from the nuclear agreement if the country’s national interests are not secured.
“If our national interests are not served by the deal, we will not stay in the agreement for a moment,” Nobakht told reporters during his weekly press conference in Tehran on Tuesday.
He also emphasized that his position on the 2015 nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is not personal but it is “the firm stance” of the establishment.
Also on Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow believes it is necessary to implement the agreement, adding that all issues should be discussed only with Tehran’s participation, TASS reported.
He made the remarks at a news conference following talks with top French diplomat Jean-Yves Le Drian on Tuesday.
"Just like France, we believe it is necessary to fully implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action," the Russian minister stressed.
"If there is a desire to discuss some other issues concerning Iran in this format or in another format, this should be done with Iran’s mandatory participation and on the basis of consensus rather than through ultimatums."
Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the US, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany signed the agreement on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.
Under the agreement, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly described the JCPOA, which was negotiated under his predecessor, Barack Obama, as “the worst and most one-sided transaction Washington has ever entered into,” a characterization he often used during his presidential campaign, and threatened to tear it up.
Trump on January 12 reluctantly agreed to waive nuclear-related sanctions against Iran that were lifted as part of the landmark deal, but said it would be the last time he issued such a waiver unless conditions were met.
On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif rejected as "improper" the conditions set by the United States for upholding the 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement, urging Washington to immediately fulfill its commitments under the deal.
"A party to a multilateral agreement cannot set conditions for the deal. They [the Americans] have previously set some conditions that were improper. Their new conditions are improper as well," Zarif told reporters in Tehran
The Washington Post on Friday quoted a senior official with the US President Donald Trump's administration involved in developing his Iran policy as saying, "The president laid out six major areas where he wanted the Europeans to work with the United States to put together a united front on demanding that the Iranians alter their behavior.”
They include alleged human rights violations, cyber threats and financial activities of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), the official added. Iran has repeatedly dismissed such accusations.
According to the daily, Trump had earlier also demanded not only that non-nuclear issues be addressed but also that the deal itself be altered to eliminate sunset clauses for some of the restrictions it places on Iran, to harden the inspection rules and to limit development of long-range missiles the US claims could be used to deliver nuclear payloads.
In reaction to the conditions, Zarif said the US is using such demands as a diversionary tactic to evade accountability for its failure to fully honor its commitments under the JCPOA.
"The US sets conditions that the international community completely knows none of them can even be considered," the top Iranian diplomat added.