Larijani: Deadlock with US could be ‘fixed’
Iran warned Sunday it will “seriously reconsider” its commitments to the UN atomic watchdog if European parties to a nuclear deal trigger a dispute mechanism that could lead to sanctions.
The 2015 nuclear accord has been unraveling since last year when the United States unilaterally withdrew from it and began reimposing sanctions on Iran.
The three European countries still party to the deal — Britain, France and Germany — have been trying to salvage it but their efforts have so far borne little fruit.
“If they use the trigger (mechanism), Iran would be forced to seriously reconsider some of its commitments to” the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.
“If they think doing so is more beneficial to them, they can go ahead,” he told a news conference in Tehran.
On Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian raised the possibility of invoking the mechanism
Le Drian said that "every two months there is another notch (from Iran) to the extent that we are wondering today... about the implementation of the dispute resolution mechanism in the treaty."
"Given the succession of actions taken by the Iranian authorities, who are progressively at odds with the contents of the JCPOA, the question comes up," he added.
Iran rejected his remarks as "irresponsible and unconstructive."
Larijani urged the three European nations to “stop” the US for violating the deal instead of threating Iran.
“The rationale [move] is to stop the undesirable element (the US) that has breached the terms [of the deal]… and convince the US to return to its commitments,” he said.
The top lawmaker said Iran diplomacy still can deliver.
“I believe that the path to diplomacy and dialogue is still open, but these rude statements should not be directed at Iran,” he said.
In May, one year after the US pullout, Iran began retaliating by scaling back its commitments to the deal — known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Following its latest step back this month, the European parties warned the JCPOA’s dispute resolution mechanism could be triggered if Iran continued down that path.
It covers various stages that could take several months to unfold, but the issue could eventually end up before the UN Security Council, which could decide to reimpose sanctions.
The five-nation commission overseeing the Iran nuclear deal is set to meet in Vienna on December 6, with fears growing that it could collapse. The joint commission is made up of the three European nations and the deal's other remaining parties, China and Russia.
Since the US pullout, Iran has taken four steps back from the accord.
The latest was on November 4 when its engineers began feeding uranium hexafluoride gas into mothballed enrichment centrifuges at the underground Fordo plant south of Tehran.
Soon afterward, Britain, France, Germany, and the European Union said Iran's decision to resume activities at Fordo was "inconsistent" with the nuclear deal.
Germany warned earlier this month that the dispute resolution mechanism in the agreement could be triggered if Iran continued down this path.
Deadlock could be fixed
Larijani also suggested the current deadlock with the United States could be “fixed” if Iran’s arch-foe learns from the past.
“There is always the political will to resolve these issues and there is no deadlock,” he said
Ahead of the 2015 deal, then US President Barack “Obama wrote a letter and said that I accept Iran’s enrichment, now let’s negotiate,” Larijani added.
“If the American officials have just as much wisdom, to use past experiences, then they can fix this issue.”
The JCPOA set out restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of Western sanctions.
AFP contributed to this story.