Tehran to halt Additional Protocol if the West doesn’t act

TEHRAN, Feb. 16 (MNA) – A senior member of the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) says lawmakers are very serious to enforce the “strategic action to lift sanctions” law.

“The Majlis is very strenuous and serious about implementing the ‘strategic action to lift sanctions’ law and is pursuing its implementation by the government,” Abolfazl Amouei, the spokesman for the Iranian Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, told the Tehran Times.

“There is an overwhelming consensus among all of Iran’s institutions about moving forward with the nuclear law, especially among the government and the (Supreme) National Security Council,” Amouei emphasizes.

On December 1, Iranian lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in favor of a bill called “Strategic Action to Lift Sanctions and Safeguard Interests of the Iranian People,” which tasked the government to suspend more commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – the official name for the 2015 nuclear deal - that former U.S. president Donald Trump quit it in May 2018 and returned sanctions and added new harsh ones.

The following is the text of the interview:

What are the goals of the Majlis in passing the law called “Strategic Action to Lift Sanctions and Safeguard Interests of the Iranian People”?

A: The purpose of the Majlis in passing the “strategic action to lift sanctions” plan is to put pressure on the West and push them to change their policies.

In fact, the Western side, which had made commitments to Iran under the JCPOA, failed to fulfill its obligations. The Americans not only withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, but prevented others from fulfilling their obligations.

The Europeans also left a bad record and did not abide by the 11 commitments they had made to Iran after the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA.

In such a situation, the nuclear accord is out of balance and representatives believe that in order to put pressure on the other side to return to the nuclear deal, Iran should reduce its obligations, some of which were previously reduced in five steps, but the Majlis has decided to craft the next steps in this context, and the outcome was passing "strategic action to lift sanctions" law in which different schedules have been considered.

Have you seen any positive action or sign from the West indicating a lifting of sanctions so far?

One of the opportunities given to the Western side within the sixth article of the law is that the West must facilitate Iran’s oil sales and normalize its banking ties with the world in two months.

If they do not so, as we have not seen any positive step yet, Tehran will suspend the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol on February 23.

Despite the two-month opportunity, it seems that the West is wasting time, meanwhile, we did not see any effective action on the ground, but only some stances, none of which are considered a practical sign. It is important for the Islamic Republic to see effective steps in lifting sanctions.

In your point of view, how serious is the Majlis in pursuing the implementation of the law? What measures does it envisage?

The Majlis is very strenuous and serious about implementing the “strategic action to lift sanctions” law and is pursuing its implementation by the government.

There is an overwhelming consensus among all of Iran’s institutions about moving forward with the nuclear law, especially among the government and the (Supreme) National Security Council. We anticipate that this law will be enforced if the Western side fails to take advantage of this opportunity and normalize the situation.

What are the possible implications of Iran’s threat to stop the Additional Protocol to the NPT? Will the International Atomic Energy Agency's "surveillance cameras" be disconnected or limited?

The Islamic Republic has accepted a higher level of inspection as part of its obligations under the JCPOA. Prior to the nuclear deal, Iran was a member of the NPT and has a safeguard agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency, but after the JCPOA Tehran agreed to implement the Additional Protocol voluntarily as well as some additional monitoring of its activities.

The Majlis has obliged the government to suspend the implementation of the Additional Protocol and a further safeguard monitoring if Iran’s oil sales and banking ties with the world are not facilitated by February 21 or 23.

This does not mean expulsion of IAEA inspectors, but access based on the Additional Protocol will be cut off. Inspections related to the Additional Protocol will be stopped. The surveillance cameras that were placed in accordance with the Additional Protocol will be unplugged. However, the entire Iranian nuclear program remains under the safeguards of the Agency.

Interview by: Ali Akbar Jenabzadeh

First published in the Tehran Times

News Code 170042

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