In an interview to Italy’s Rai News24, published on the broadcaster’s website, Zarif said that a decision to restore uranium enrichment was an option which Iran could use to respond to a move by the United States to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a deal signed in July 2015 which also included Russia, China and three European governments of Germany, Britain and France.
Zarif, who was in Rome for an international conference, said that the US violation of the JCPOA allows Iran and gives it the right to enrich uranium again, according to a Persian translation of his comments carried by the official IRNA news agency.
The top Iranian diplomat also said that Iran, like the US, had the option to withdraw from the JCPOA, a deal which he said was the result of some of the “lengthiest” and “most serious” negotiations in recent history. However, he said Tehran was waiting for the European partners to the deal to see if they could preserve the agreement by ensuring the interests of the Iranian people.
Zarif said that EU had made some strong commitments about the JCPOA but was yet to show its real determination to avoid US pressure and get on with the implementation of the deal.
It is impossible to “swim without getting wet”, Zarif said while referring to the European parties to the JCPOA.
Responding to a question on Italy’s role in countering US sanctions on Iran, the Iranian foreign minister said that Rome was Tehran’s biggest trade partner in the European Union and the government in Rome could support private companies in their business with Iran.