Zarif: US exit from nuclear deal ‘complete disregard for intl. law’

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iran says US President Donald Trump's "unilateral and unlawful" decision to withdraw from a key 2015 nuclear agreement and to re-impose nuclear-related sanctions shows "a complete disregard for international law."

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made the remarks in a letter written to the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on May 10, two days after Trump defied protests and last-minute lobbying by his European partners and unilaterally decided to withdraw from the historic nuclear accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and re-impose sanctions on Tehran.

"These acts constitute a complete disregard for international law and the United Nations Charter, undermine the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes, endanger multilateralism and its institutions, indicate a regress to the failed and disastrous era of unilateralism, and encourage intransigence and illegality," Zarif said in the letter published on Monday on the website of the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

He added that the Islamic Republic has scrupulously implemented its undertakings under the nuclear deal as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly and consistently verified.

"Unlike the Islamic Republic of Iran … the United States has consistently failed – since “implementation day,” and particularly after the assumption of office by President Trump – to abide by its commitments under the JCPOA," the top Iranian diplomat said.

Since the JCPOA Implementation Day in January 2016, the IAEA has been monitoring Iran’s compliance with its nuclear-related commitments under the nuclear deal and has consistently verified the Islamic Republic’s compliance.

The UN's nuclear agency on May 1 reiterated that it has "no credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device after 2009," citing its assessments from 2015.

In his letter to the UN chief, the Iranian foreign minister pointed to the most significant cases of US non-performance of its commitments, which he had cited in 12 official letters to the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, in her capacity as coordinator of the JCPOA Joint Commission, and noted that the US "had been persistently violating the terms of the agreement almost from its inception, even preventing other JCPOA participants from fully performing their obligations."

"I urge the United Nations to keep the United States accountable for its unilateral and irresponsible conduct, which will detrimentally affect the rule of law, multilateralism, and the very foundations of diplomacy," Zarif pointed out.

A senior advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Saturday that the United States stands to suffer the most after its move to withdraw from the JCPOA.

Ali Akbar Velayati, the Leader's advisor on international affairs, said, "The Islamic Republic of Iran fully protects its independence and will by no means bow to their (Americans’) bullying and we have proved this over the past 40 years."

Iran has said it would remain in the JCPOA for now, pending negotiations with the other signatories in the coming weeks before making a final decision on its future role in the agreement.

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