Araghchi warns of countdown for Additional Protocol halt

TEHRAN, Feb. 21 (MNA) – Stating that it does not appear that any action will be taken by the Americans to lift the sanctions by Feb. 23, the Iranian deputy foreign minister said that Iran will suspend the implementation of the Additional Protocol.

"One of Biden's campaign slogans was to return to the JCPOA. The JCPOA was the achievement of the Democrats, and it was natural for them to have an incentive to return to it. Trump's policy of maximum pressure also failed, and that policy had to be changed," said Abbas Araghchi in a televised program on Saturday night.

"The Zionist regime has always been opposed to the JCPOA, and there were other countries in the region that opposed it too," he added.

Referring to Joe Biden's recent remarks, he said, "He did not explicitly announce that he would return to the JCPOA, but announced his readiness to return to the talks. It seems that they have not yet been able to overcome internal tensions and reach a unified policy to return to the JCPOA."

"No one can question Iran's goodwill regarding the JCPOA. We negotiated in good faith and by reaching an agreement, we fully adhered to our commitments and acted on them, and even after the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA, we remained in the deal for up to a year and fulfilled our obligations. 15 IAEA reports prove Iran's adherence to its obligations," Arghchi highlighted.

Iranian diplomat went on to say, "We exercised our right in the JCPOA, and our actions were in fact an act against the behavior of the United States and the Europeans. As soon as they return to their commitments, we will return to our commitments too."

Stating that the Europeans are not in a position to claim that Iran has failed to implement the JCPOA, he said, "If the JCPOA is still alive in the last four years, it is because of Iran's policies and the Europeans have no share in it, except for the action that stood in the Security Council against the United States for the implementation of Snapback."

Referring to the IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi's visit to Tehran, Araghchi said, "Grossi's trip has nothing to do with Iran's decision and Iran's decision will be implemented. He has come to Tehran to establish a new order in relations between Iran and the IAEA."

"When we joined the NPT, we signed the Safeguards Agreement, giving access to the agency under it, and the agency inspectors will not be fired," he added.

"We agreed to provide more oversight to inspectors under the JCPOA, including accepting the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol," Araghchi said, adding, "According to Iranian parliamentary resolution, these measures beyond the Additional Protocol should be stopped. The interpretation that inspectors should leave Iran is not correct, but the number of inspectors' inspections will be reduced."

"It does not appear that the Americans will take action to lift the sanctions by Feb. 23, and we will suspend the implementation of the Additional Protocol, although this does not mean that Iran will leave the JCPOA," the Iranian diplomat highlighted.

Araghchi stressed, "The suspension of the Additional Protocol is reversible, and as soon as our demands are met in the JCPOA, we will return again and fulfill the implementation of the Additional Protocol and the oversight and the rest of the commitments."

Emphasizing that Iran will not leave the JCPOA on Feb. 23 and the inspections will not stop, he said, "The agreement between Iran and the IAEA is in place. The way is open for the other side to return and the solution to the problem has been stated by us."

"Leader made it clear that the action of other parties is important to us. We will return to our commitments after verifying their actions," he underlined.

"In our opinion, the criterion is the lifting of sanctions, and if this does not happen, which seems to be the case, the action will be taken on Feb. 23 and the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol will be stopped," Araghchi noted.

After the illegitimate US exit from the JCPOA in May 2018, the three European signatories to the deal remained indifferent to making up for Iran’s losses.

Amid the Europeans’ lack of action, Iran took five steps to reduce its commitments to the deal while vowing that it will reverse the course as soon as the other parties live up to their commitments under the accord.

Recently, the Iranian parliament passed a bill, dubbed the Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions in early last December, setting a Feb. 21 deadline for Biden to lift the US sanctions. Otherwise, Iran will halt inspections of its nuclear sites by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and further boost uranium enrichment. 

Iran has so far resumed 20% uranium enrichment at Fordow plant in accordance with the Parliament’s legislation and has warned that in the case Washington does not remove all the anti-Iran illegitimate sanctions, it will also stop voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol, which gives IAEA inspectors unannounced visits to Iranian facilities.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has emphasized that for Tehran, the return of the United States to the JCPOA is not an important issue, but what is important is the lifting of US sanctions against Iran.

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News Code 170206

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