The Iranian Foreign Ministry and the government’s diplomatic team have always been well aware of all the truths about the Iran nuclear deal and its positive and negative dimensions and that they make decisions based on their complete knowledge of different aspects of the agreement, said an economic expert and adviser of Iran’s Plan and Budget Organization.
US May 8 unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, which was in contravention with the international diplomatic norms and regulations, has had a large number of consequences and has been met with many reactions.
Washington’s unilateral pullout from the agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – signed between Iran and P5+1 in July 2015 – caused many signatories to the deal to make efforts to work out solutions to preserve the international treaty.
After US President Donald Trump announced his country’s pullout from the JCPOA and reimposed Washington’s unilateral sanctions on Iran in two phases – both already in place - Iran and a number of European states soon reacted to the move saying the future of the deal is not tied to the US decisions and called for the preservation of the agreement.
In the aftermath of the US withdrawal, Iran that had fulfilled all its commitments under the JCPOA, called on the EU to safeguard Tehran’s interests within the framework of the deal. In response to Iran’s request, Europe put activation of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) on its agenda after a while, and eventually, created a new payments system – known as the Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) – to allow European businesses to trade with Tehran without being impacted by Washington’s sanctions.
Despite efforts by the US and some other countries to persuade EU to withdraw from the deal, the union is willing to remain committed to the terms of the JCPOA and it is still possible to be upbeat about the future of the agreement.
In an interview with Iran Daily, Abouzar Nadimi commented on the issues pertaining to the JCPOA and its future.
Excerpts from the interview follow:
IRAN DAILY: How do you assess the JCPOA as an international agreement?
ABOUZAR NADIMI: Three indices are required to be taken into account when assessing international deals such as the JCPOA: The first one pertains to the time and place of signing the agreement, which in this case, the events as well as political and international developments at the time of signing the JCPOA should be analyzed. The second one is that of the costs and benefits. According to this index, a large number of human behaviors depend on the drive to prevent loss. At the time when our nuclear case had been referred to the United Nations Security Council, we were seeking ways to bring that situation to an end. The JCPOA did that for us and helped us prevent further losses.
The third index pertains to evaluating today’s condition to use the opportunities provided by the JCPOA. President Trump called the JCPOA the “worst deal ever”. In such a situation, if we say that the JCPOA is a bad agreement, in fact we are also approving of their [the US] policies and they would say: “Look Iran also does not approve of the agreement.”
This comes as we are required to act differently by constantly reminding the US that the JCPOA is an international agreement to the terms of which all other signatories are committed.
The JCPOA is a good deal as it is international and an outcome of negotiations between different states. The negative aspect of the JCPOA is, however, that its terms have been violated giving rise to uncertainties regarding commitments to the deal.
Therefore, in an address to those who slam the JCPOA as a bad deal, it must be said that the Iranian Foreign Ministry and the government’s diplomatic team have always been well aware of all the truths about the deal and its positive and negative dimensions and that they make decisions based on their complete knowledge of different aspects of the agreement.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is a diplomat and diplomats, depending on the situation, always state a portion of the facts. They manage their statements and stances in concord with the situation they are faced with and the issue they are dealing with.
Then, how come some, at times, voice criticisms against the JCPOA?
What is said and the reality are two completely different issues. The JCPOA was an agreement approved by Iran’s Guardian Council and accepted by the UN Security Council. The Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei gave the green light to Iran’s diplomatic team to enter negotiations over the deal and provided them with necessary guidelines in that regard. However, no one said that the JCPOA would be the beginning and the end of the world. The JCPOA is a good deal, however, expectations from it should not surpass its dimensions and reach. We should not expect it to solve all our problems.
By signing the JCPOA, Iran, in fact, wanted to say that it is changing its relationship with the world.
Has the JCPOA helped us prevent further losses?
At its own time and under those circumstances, the JCPOA was very effective for us and helped eliminate certain threats to the country. At that time, the US and Europe had influence over major buyers of Iran’s oil and gas condensates, as is the case with certain states at present. Over several year, we tried to change the international attitude towards Iran.
Then why some refrain from acknowledging that the JCPOA has had some benefits for Iran?
Exaggerations by different people should be overlooked. We are speaking about the essence of an issue. Islam is a promoter and guardian of peace, of course one that preserves dignity. Negotiating over the JCPOA and signing the deal did not dishonor Iran. If this was the case, Ayatollah Khamenei would have ordered the country’s diplomatic team to stop the talks.
Under the present different circumstances, to what extent Iran’s decision to remain in the JCPOA would help safeguard the country’s interests?
The JCPOA is a legal instrument for us, not a goal. Using the JCPOA we are, in fact, speaking to the world. We are telling the US and those in favor of withdrawing from the JCPOA that you are not committed to your own treaties. We are telling the world to be aware of their wrong policies towards us.
The future of the JCPOA is not definitely predictable. However, this agreement, per se, is an achievement for us as it provides us with the opportunity to interact with the world. Under such circumstance, in case we withdraw from the JCPOA, we have, in fact, accelerated the unfolding of a scenario created by the US. We are a civilized nation who honors its pledges and remains committed to the treaties it has signed.
It is as if Europe has faced a challenge with the US over Washington’s pullout from the JCPOA.
Europe, the US, and, in generally, the entire world are not managed based on aspirations. Everything is based on safeguarding interests and minimizing losses. Despite having their own particular policies and political approaches, countries’ performance depends on their interests.
The US is a several-thousand market and highly lucrative consumer market. No European country is willing to lose its share of such a market. At present, all issues are defined based on cost and benefit. We, however, cannot prejudge other countries’ behavior towards ourselves. Having this in mind that the world will not deal with us based on aspirations, we are required to interact with all countries. Interaction involves trade and is by no means a one-way road. It is kind of a deal in which we are required to safeguard our interests.
Given what you said, to what extent do you think Europe will fulfill its commitments under the JCPOA?
Europeans would like to remain committed to the JCPOA. In view of its logic, approach and prestige in the international arena, Europe seeks to preserve the JCPOA. However, at present, many of the powers in Europe and the world are under US pressure and dealing with problems arising from this pressure.
Europe is, nevertheless, currently seeking to find a way to counter the US demands and act against Washington. The fact is that we are required to protect our own interests and as long as the JCPOA serves this end, we are required to preserve it.