Zarif hopeful of forging ‘clear future’ for JCPOA
Merkel decries US pullout from Iran deal
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that, if its interests were protected, Tehran would remain committed to its 2015 nuclear deal, which his foreign minister hoped could be redesigned without the United States.
Tuesday’s US withdrawal from the accord was a “violation of morals,” Rouhani said in remarks carried by national television.
“The basis of foreign policy is built on morality, trust and attention to international regulations, and we are very pleased that Iran has been abiding by its obligations under any agreement it has signed,” the president said.
“If the remaining five countries continue to abide by the agreement, Iran will remain in the deal despite the will of America,” he said during a meeting with Sri Lanka’s president.
US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the deal and reimpose sanctions angered its European allies as well as China and Russia.
Rouhani made similar comments on Tuesday, saying Iran would stay committed to the deal, which Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia also signed, provided those powers could ensure Iran was protected from sanctions against key sectors of its economy such as oil.
The three European states have also recommitted to the agreement.
Forging ‘clear future’
On Saturday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif embarked on a tour of other signatory nations to the accord in a last-ditch effort to save it.
“We hope that with this visit to China and other countries we will be able to construct a clear future design for the comprehensive agreement,” Zarif told reporters after talks in Beijing with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
Zarif will later fly to Moscow and Brussels to consult with the remaining signatories to the 2015 agreement.
As he arrived in Beijing, Zarif said Tehran was “ready for all options.”
“If the nuclear deal is to continue, the interests of the people of Iran must be assured,” he said.
After their meeting, Zarif and Wang hailed the “comprehensive strategic partnership” between their countries, with the Chinese minister saying, “I hope and believe that these visits to multiple countries will... help protect Iran’s legitimate national interests and peace and stability in the region.”
Before embarking on the tour, Iran’s chief diplomat published a government statement on his Twitter page, slamming Trump's “extremist administration” for abandoning “an accord recognized as a victory of diplomacy by the international community.”
It reiterated that Iran was preparing to resume “industrial scale” uranium enrichment “without any restrictions” unless Europe provided solid guarantees it could maintain trade ties despite renewed US sanctions.
Allies fume at Trump
Meanwhile, European diplomats in Tehran fumed that Trump’s decision to withdraw from the deal could undermine years of patient work to restore commercial and diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic.
“Since the signing of the JCPOA, we have gone from an atmosphere like a gold rush, to one of utter depression,” said a Western trade diplomat on condition of anonymity.
“We are waiting now for how the decision-makers in the European Union will react. If the EU leans toward accommodating the US, all the progress we have made since 2015 will be lost."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel lamented on Saturday that Trump’s decision to pull out of the JCPOA was making the situation in the Middle East “even more difficult” and warned Europeans to be skeptical of “easy” solutions promised by populists.
Speaking while in Italy to receive a peace prize, Merkel cited the recent escalation in the region that quickly followed Trump’s announcement about the Iran accord as a reason for concern.
She said Germany was closely following the developments, saying that was “yet another reason for further effort to resolve the conflict.”
Reuters, AFP, AP and Press TV contributed to this story.