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Zarif Calls US Demands For Changes In Nuclear Deal Destructive

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif looks on prior to a meeting with EU officials, January 11, 2018
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif looks on prior to a meeting with EU officials, January 11, 2018

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif has charged that US President Donald Trump is planning to destroy Iran’s nuclear deal with the West, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Speaking about President Trump’s threat to withdraw from the deal, Zarif said in an interview with Channel 2 of Iran’s state TV on Monday February 5 that “Mr. Trump is very unhappy about the JCPOA and is trying to find a way to destroy it.”

“Trump discuses subjects that are not covered by the JCPOA,” Zarif said, stressing that “the JCPOA is an agreement that aims to solve one problem without attempting to resolve other disputes.”

He added: “JCPOA discusses only one subject. What we, the Europeans and of course Russia and China stress upon is that the JCPOA is an agreement based on non-agreement on other subjects; and this cannot be suddenly changed.”

The nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, i.e., The US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany was made in 2015. President Trump has labelled the JCPOA as “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”

Trump has said that Iran has not been living up to the spirit of JCPOA by continuing its missile projects, and by its destabilizing activities in the region including Syria and Yemen.

Last month President Trump extended the suspension of nuclear sanctions against Iran for another 120 days, but said that it was the last time he was extending the suspension and that “catastrophic” flaws in the agreement must be corrected.

Donald Trump has set four conditions for the United States continued commitment to the JCPOA; including international inspectors immediate access to all Iranian nuclear establishments, making existing limitations on Iran’s nuclear program permanent, guaranteeing that Iran will not approach a nuclear weapons plan, and limiting Iran’s long range missiles program. Trump has said that long range missile program and Iran’s nuclear weapons program are “inseparable.”

An agreement based on mistrust

Zarif said in the interview that “every word in the JCPOA has been written based on distrust. And this distrust is mutual. That is why very few international documents are as lengthy as JCPOA.”

He added: “What Donald Trump is doing was foreseeable. We did not expect the US to implement the JCPOA with good will. It has been repeated many times in the document that both sides should fulfill their commitments based on good will.”

This comes while the US President has demanded changes in the nuclear agreement with Iran in a way that it would address concerns about Tehran’s behavior.

Trump has repeatedly expressed concern over the “sunset clause” in the deal and the fact that “Iran might become capable of making nuclear weapons even before the agreement expires.”

In the meantime, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that from Washington’s standpoint, the nuclear deal with Iran is only a small part of the United States’ Middle East policy. US has more concerns in the region, including Tehran’s support of Houthis in Yemen and the shipment of Iranian weapons to other militia groups in the region.

During recent days, Iranian officials have stressed that renewed US nuclear sanctions would be in violation of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers and that Tehran would reciprocate by boosting Uranium enrichment.