Nuclear deal remains diplomatic triumph despite US exit: Iran FM

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says a historic nuclear agreement Tehran signed with the P5+1 group of countries in 2015 is still a "triumph of multilateral diplomacy" even after the US pullout from the agreement.

Zarif made the remarks in a post on his official Twitter account on Saturday on the occasion of the third anniversary of the conclusion of the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that Washington was walking away from the nuclear agreement and that he planned to reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose "the highest level" of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.

Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.

Since the US president pulled Washington out of the nuclear deal, European countries have been scrambling to ensure that Iran gets enough economic benefits to persuade it to stay in the deal. The remaining parties have vowed to stay in the accord.

Zarif, one of the architects of the nuclear pact, criticized unilateral actions by Trump's administration.

"While we knew US can't be trusted to keep its word—as its allies have now discovered—JCPOA proves that toxic unilateralism of Trump Admin means it can’t be relied on to honor any deal," the top Iranian diplomat pointed out.

Addressing reporters in the Austrian capital Vienna on July 6 following a meeting with his counterparts from Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia for the first time since the US withdrawal, the Iranian foreign minister said that all the remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear agreement had political will to stand up to the US move to withdraw from the deal.

However, he warned that if the European sides failed to properly fulfill their commitments, Iran would take its own measures to counter the US withdrawal from the JCPOA.

Tehran has conditioned its stay in the deal to practical European strides to make sure Iran’s dividends from the deal would not be affected when US sanctions "snap back" in August.

The first group of sanctions on Iran’s automotive sector, gold trade, and other industries will “snap back” on August 4. Further sanctions on oil and transactions with the Central Bank of Iran will come into effect November 6.

Since the implementation of the nuclear agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed Iran’s compliance with its obligations under the JCPOA in several reports.

The head of the UN nuclear agency in June reaffirmed the IAEA's accesses to all the required nuclear sites in Iran, calling on Tehran to ensure "timely and proactive cooperation" with inspections under the deal.

"As stated in my latest report to the Board [of Governors], the agency has conducted complementary accesses under the Additional Protocol to all the sites and locations in Iran which we needed to visit," Amano said in his introductory statement to the Board of Governors on June 4.

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