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Iran Warns EU Not To Leave JCPOA, Vows Not To Seek Nuclear Weapons

Iranian President Hassan Rohani chairs a cabinet meeting in Tehran, January 22, 2020
Iranian President Hassan Rohani chairs a cabinet meeting in Tehran, January 22, 2020

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and the speaker of parliament have warned European states not to leave the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and has vowed never to seek nuclear weapons.

Rouhani in remarks on Wednesday, January 22 told Europeans, “If you violate the JCPOA you shall be responsible for all the consequences," although he did not say what those consequences could be. Iran's parliament speaker, Ali Larijani also repeated the warning on Wednesday at a different gathering.

Meanwhile, he vowed once again that "Iran is not and has never been after nuclear weapons with or without the nuclear deal."

Speaking at a cabinet meeting in Tehran, he called the U.S. withdrawal from the deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) "a big ethical, political and legal mistake" and "disrespect to international regulations and the United nations."

Promising that the U.S. will be punished for this mistake, Rouhani asked the UK, France and Germany as the European parties to the JCPOA, "Do you want to make the same mistake?"

Rouhani was referring to the EU-3's decision to activate the "trigger mechanism" of the JCPOA by reporting Tehran's steps reducing its obligations under the deal to the United Nations Security Council. The move could potentially return Iran's nuclear case to the UNSC as well as potentially bringing back all the international sanctions that were suspended after Iran's 2015 deal with the West.

After the United States vowed to bring Iran’s oil exports down to zero last May, Iran announced its gradual reduction of commitments, including staying within the limits of the agreement in uranium enrichment. Since then, Iran has increased both the quantity of purity of the uranium it enriches.

However, Rouhani said: "All of us have to fulfil our obligations under the JCPOA. It is so arrogant that a government stops fulfilling its obligations and expects others to remain committed to the deal”, in a reference to the U.S.

He accused the EU-3 of violating the 11 commitments they made after the U.S. pull-out from the JCPOA, charging that Europe has stopped to fulfil its obligations fearing that the U.S. might introduce tariffs on car imports from Europe. "A man does not break his promise because of tariffs. A man's honor should be valued more than tariffs," he said.

Rouhani who has been accused by Europe of leaving not much of the JCPOA by violating Iran's obligations about limitations the extent and level of Uranium enrichment and the type and number of centrifuges among other things, stressed: "We have not left and will not leave the JCPOA. The reductions we have made are based on the JCPOA and on the same day that you return to your full obligations, we will do likewise."

"Stand by your promises, and we will do the same," he said.

Meanwhile, he warned that Europe will be responsible for all the consequences if it violates the JCPOA.

Earlier on Wednesday, Rouhani's Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi reminded the Europeans of a letter Rouhani had sent them in May 2019 on the anniversary of the U.S. pull-out from the nuclear deal. In that letter Rouhani had stressed that Iran will remain in the JCPOA and encouraged the remaining parties to do the same.

Vaezi, further said that the Rouhani administration is the only authority in Iran that will decide about the country's next step if the European parties leave the JCPOA.

In another development, the Speaker of Iranian Parliament (Majles), Ali Larijani, said the enmity between Iran and the United States has never been as serious and intense as today, IRGC-linked Tasnim news agency reported on Wednesday January 22.

Meanwhile, he said about the stand-off with Europe that Iran will certainly to respond to EU-3's move about the JCPOA.Like Rouhani, Larijani also said that the EU-3's move will have consequences for Europeans but did not elaborate.

Larijani also stressed that Iran will not seek nuclear weapon and will continue to respect the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).