Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says the country will restart its nuclear activities if the 2015 nuclear deal or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) fails.
Reza Najafi made the remarks in an address to reporters in Vienna on Wednesday in response to questions about Iran’s letter to the IAEA concerning preparatory work on the start of certain activities.
“These are the preparatory works for a possible scenario; if in an unfortunate situation the JCPOA fails, then Iran can restart its activities without any limits that already (exist) under the JCPOA,” he said as he summarized to reporters his statement to the IAEA Board of Governors.
He said the first preparation was the restart of the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) in Isfahan for the production of UF6, while another preparatory work concerned the infrastructure for the possible production of new centrifuges.
“But I should emphasize that it does not mean that right now Iran will start any activities contrary to the JCPOA. These are only the preparatory works. It is in the JCPOA that if one party does not fulfill its obligation, then it is the right of the other party to partially or completely not implement its commitment, so this is a right recognized in the JCPOA. We are going to exercise our right if it happens, we should see what will happen in future,” he noted.
He made the remarks a day after the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Ali Akbar Salehi, told a briefing in Tehran on Tuesday that the country had begun work to prepare the infrastructure for building advanced centrifuges at its Natanz enrichment facility, while respecting its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal.
“Yesterday, we took the first step and submitted a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency on the start of certain activities, but we started to take the necessary practical measures today,” he added.
Salehi made the announcements less than a day after Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei urged preparations for a potential collapse of the JCPOA following the US’s withdrawal.
The Leader ordered the AEOI to get prepared for a rise to 190,000 SWUs (separative work unit) within the framework of the deal.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Najafi said the Iran nuclear deal was a multilateral agreement that could not be scrapped unilaterally by one signatory.
“The JCPOA does not exclusively belong to those who concluded it thus enabling one party to scrap it whimsically. The JCPOA is a multi-party agreement based on reciprocity; its scope, provisions and time frames are based on a delicate, negotiated and multilaterally-accepted balance that cannot be widened, altered or renegotiated,” he said.
He added that he had told the Board of Governors that “the US’ unlawful withdrawal constitutes a complete disregard for international law” and the UN Charter, undermined the principle of peaceful settlement of dispute and “encourages intransigence and illegality.”
“The US has flagrantly violated Resolution 2231, which was sponsored inter alia by the US itself and adopted unanimously by the Council. Indeed, the US withdrawal from the JCPOA was a culmination of a long period of attempts by the US to violate and sabotage it and Resolution 2231 that endorses the deal and calls upon all member states to support its implementation. The US unlawful act of unwarranted withdrawal from the JCPOA renders it responsible for the most blatant material breach of its obligation under the agreement,” he stressed.
He added that contrary to the US behavior, Iran had been in full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA, which has been on numerous occasions verified by the IAEA since implementation day in January 2016.
Najafi stressed that if the JCPOA was to survive, the remaining JCPOA participants and other economic partners needed to ensure that Iran was “compensated unconditionally through appropriate national, regional and global measures.”
“As our high authorities stated, [the] Iranian nation would not accept to continue implementing its commitments under the JCPOA while restrictive measures and sanctions contrary to the deal are being enforced,” he concluded.
On May 8, US President Donald Trump announced Washington's pullout from the nuclear deal, vowing to reinstate nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.
Iran has said it will remain committed to the deal for the time being, pending negotiations with other signatories to the JCPOA to see if Iran’s interests would still be protected under an accord without the US.
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