Iran opted for JCPOA-free economy: Araghchi

TEHRAN, Jan. 05 (MNA) – A senior Iranian diplomat urged Western countries to stop the delusion that they can set conditions for the lifting of sanctions as Iran has opted for a JCPOA-free economy.

"Iran has made its decision on a JCPOA-free economy and life,” Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said in a live televised interview on Monday night.  

“We are not excited about America’s return to the JCPOA and it is not the case that we would embrace US’ return with open arms,” added the diplomat.

“Westerners are suffering from a delusion and think that due to pressures imposed on the country by US sanction in the past years, the Islamic Republic is ready and will quickly embrace America’s return to the deal and so they can set conditions for the lifting of the sanctions. This is a completely wrong and delusional understanding [of Iran],” said Araghchi.

The oil-independent economy of Iran has been realized since two years ago and this was one of the services of Donald Trump to Iran, according to the diplomat.

About the 20% uranium enrichment

Asked about the recent step taken by Iran to increase the level of Uranium enrichment, Arghchi first pointed to the history of Tehran’s decision, saying steps in reducing commitments to the JCPOA comes in response to other parties’ failure to fulfill their obligations under the deal after the unilateral withdrawal of the United States.

Referring to the recent law passed at the Iranian Parliament, he said the administration had to implement the law as the executive branch, and the measures noted in the motion were carried out accordingly.

The IAEA had been fully informed about the decision and all the required legal steps had been taken in presence of IAEA inspectors, Araghchi stressed.

Steps in reducing commitments are a right for Iran according to article 36 of the JCPOA, he said.

Restating 20% enrichment is legal based on NPT, safeguards, and the JCPOA, he said, noting that Iran is entitled to use the snapback mechanism which would mean put aside all commitments and return to pre-JCPOA conditions. "This is us who have implemented Snapback mechanism and the JCPOA is still alive.”

When will Iran stop 20% enrichment?

Asked this question, the senior diplomat said that such enriched Uranium is for the use of a research reactor and this is not an ‘immediate need’. “We are bound to implement Parliament’s law. The law says if other parties fulfill their commitments, reports should be sent to the body and it can make other decisions.”

Iran is able to return to all its JCPOA commitments provided that other parties meet their own obligations, Araghchi said. “20% enrichment is one of the cases that we can easily and swiftly change it to below 3.67%.”

Regarding Iran’s position on enrichment beyond 20%, Araghchi said according to the IAEO, the country is technically able to do so but enrichment is done based on the country’s needs. “We adhere to our principle about nuclear weapons being Haram. Nukes have no place either in our religious principles or in our defensive and security calculations.”

Europeans no entitled to speak about deviation from JCPOA

Asked about the reaction of the European countries to Iran’s 20% enrichment, Araghchi said “I believe Europeans are not entitled to speak about this issue. If this is a deviation from the JCPOA, their failure to fulfill commitments regarding the lifting of sanctions against Iran is a complete deviation from the JCPOA.”

European countries should thank Iran for preserving the nuclear deal despite the fact that Tehran did not enjoy its benefits, he said.

Europeans, who see themselves as the cradle of democracy, have no right to object to a decision made by Iran’s Parliament, the diplomat said, adding that if Europeans are willing to maintain the deal, they’d better modify their own path and then, they will witness Iran’s return to JCPOA commitments.

Iran will not accept any precondition for US return to JCPOA

Europe and Biden’s America should abandon the notion that Tehran has opened its arms for US return to the deal, he said. “This is absolutely not the case.”

“Yes, we want the lifting of sanctions. As the Leader of the Revolution said if grounds are prepared for a respectful removal of sanctions, we will not delay.”

“Iran will not accept any condition for America’s return to the JCPOA,” stressed Araghchi. “No re-negotiation will be held about the JCPOA. Nothing will be added to the JCPOA. JCPOA+, additional JCPOA, and extension of JCPOA time limits are not acceptable for us. No other issue will be added to JCPOA talks, either regional or other issues. They should completely put aside missile issues from their mind.”

“The JCPOA will not be renegotiated. America should return to full compliance with the deal. US should latch onto the JCPOA at it will not find any better replacement,” deputy FM said, adding, “If they do not have a full return to the JCPOA, Iran will either not return or not return completely. Tehran will monitor their behavior and adjust its behavior based on that.”

Iranian armed forces enjoy full readiness

Araghchi termed military moves of the US in the region in recent days as a demonstration, noting that Americans were worried about Iran’s measures on the anniversary of the assassination of General Soleimani.

“With the authority that our armed forces have in the Persian Gulf region, and with our missile authority, we are not afraid about the country’s security. These have created a sort of deterrence that neither America nor any other foreign power thinks of attacking Iran.  

Iranian armed forces are fully ready and are monitoring every US move in the region, he said. All US bases in the region are under Iran’s constant watch, Araghchi added.

“We have almost passed the situation that could have led to a conflict,” he noted, adding that the US’ demonstration was neutralized by the reciprocal defense arrangement of Iranian armed forces.

Zionists playing with fire

Asked about the recent rocket attack against the US embassy in Baghdad, Araghchi said “We should be vigilant against conspiracies.”

Some in the region are interested in creating conflict and their lives are tied to tension, conflict and occupation, including the Zionist regime, said the official. “The incident of the US embassy in Baghdad was completely suspicious and there were groups working to create sedition and tension in the region.”

"The Zionist regime should know that it is playing with fire and should not think that this fire will remain only in the Persian Gulf region," Araghchi warned. This regime is the most vulnerable in the region, and Iran's response to any attack and aggression certainly includes all those who were involved in the tensions.

MAH/FNA 13991015001195

News Code 168089

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