Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Tehran has a variety of options in store that will make the United States “regret” leaving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“Iran has a wide range of options both inside and outside of the JCPOA and, surely, the reaction from Iran and the international community will be unpleasant for the Americans,” Zarif told reporters upon arrival in New York City to attend a United Nations General Assembly meeting over sustaining peace, Press TV reported on Friday.
Under the deal, which entered into force in January 2016 when former US President Barack Obama was still in office, Iran agreed to limit parts of its peaceful nuclear program in exchange for removal of all nuclear-related sanctions.
The Iranian FM said the US government, especially the administration of President Donald Trump, has failed to stay true to its commitments and said it was up to the European signatories of the deal to preserve it and force Washington into keeping up its obligations.
Trump has been a vociferous critic of the Iran nuclear deal which was signed between Tehran and six world powers – the US, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany. He has called the JCPOA the “worst deal ever” and even threatened to tear it up.
In January, he decided to stick with the JCPOA, but gave the European signatories a May 12 deadline to "fix the terrible flaws" of the accord or he would abandon the agreement.
Iran maintains that it will not renegotiate the deal, an international document endorsed by the Security Council Resolution 2231.
“If the European countries want to preserve the deal they have to make it sustainable for Iran… they need to impose pressure on the United States in order to compel the US, encourage the US to implement what it undertook under the deal,” Zarif said. “Unfortunately, it hasn’t been doing that.”
Having called the JCPOA “the worst deal ever,” Trump insists that it favors Tehran. That is why he has urged Congress and the Europeans to “fix” the agreement or he will kill it by May 12, when he has to re-certify Iran’s compliance.
Zarif made it clear that although Europeans had yet to suggest any plan that would include renegotiating the deal, such offers “will not get a positive answer” from the Islamic Republic and Tehran would make no “concessions” whatsoever.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi warned that Iran is well prepared to deal with any possible scenario related to the future of the JCPOA.
Araqchi stressed that if the US tries to leave the agreement, it will be faced with a firm and appropriate response by Tehran.
“We will powerfully defend the Islamic Republic of Iran’s interests in the face of measures by the US president. We are ready to counter and defend against any scenario,” he added.
Araqchi further noted that the world will see how fast Tehran can reactivate its capacities and even bolster them to a much higher level than before the nuclear agreement was concluded.
European countries are currently negotiating with each other and the US about the future of the JCPOA.
European lawmakers demand JCPOA preservation
Meanwhile, over 500 parliamentarians from the three European signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran have called on the US Congress to support the accord.
In an open letter published in several newspapers on Thursday, the French, German and British lawmakers asked their US counterparts to persuade Trump not to abandon the deal.
“The US government threatens to abandon the JCPOA, although Iran fulfills its obligations under the agreement,” the letter read.
It also warned that “an exit from the US would have fatal consequences” and spell “lasting damage to our credibility as international partners in negotiation, and more generally, to diplomacy as a tool to achieve peace and ensure security.”
The European MPs further described the nuclear pact as a “major diplomatic breakthrough” and stressed that a US withdrawal “could provide a new source of devastating conflict in the Middle East and beyond.”
Similarly last month, a bipartisan group of over 100 US national security veterans explained why keeping the agreement alive is in the best interests of Washington.
Other parties to the agreement, namely Russia, China, Britain, Germany and France, have all criticized Trump’s hostile views, saying the deal is sound and has proven to be functioning.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is tasked with monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities, has repeatedly verified Tehran's full commitment to its side of the bargain.
On Monday, EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, reiterated its strong and unequivocal commitment to the full implementation of the JCPOA by all sides, saying preserving the deal is vital.
“The Europeans have always made it clear, the European Union has always made it clear that for us, keeping the agreement in place is vital. It is a strategic interest for the European Union and we will stick to it,” Mogherini said.