Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday tweeted that, contrary to a US Senate Foreign Relations Committee statement, Iran has never violated the terms of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal.
“We have NOT violated the #JCPOA,” Tehran’s foreign minister tweeted. “We triggered & exhausted [paragraph] 36 [of JCPOA] after US withdrawal. We gave E3+2 a few weeks while reserving our right. We finally took action after 60 weeks. As soon as E3 abide[s] by their obligations, we’ll reverse.”
Zarif’s tweet was accompanied by screenshots of the text of the JCPOA treaty, in particular, Paragraph 36, which details how signatories can resolve issues.
According to the treaty text, Iran has the right to complain to the Joint Commission or the Ministers of Foreign Affairs about EU signatories not meeting their commitments under the deal, after which 15 days are allotted to resolve the issue. If no resolution is found, Iran can delegate the issue to an appointed Advisory Board, which then has an additional 15 days to identify a resolution.
“If the issue still has not been resolved to the satisfaction of the complaining participant, […], then that participant could treat the unresolved issue as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part,” according to the document.
Earlier this year, Iran rolled out an ultimatum to the EU JCPOA signatories that the nation would begin enriching uranium past the limits outlined in the deal unless the EU provides Tehran with an effective mechanism of trade to bypass US sanctions.
Following a meeting with European, Chinese and Russian representatives in Vienna on 28 June, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi called EU efforts to create a viable trading mechanism “one step forward,” but added that Tehran is not satisfied with what has so far been done.
“It is still not meeting Iran’s expectations,” he said. “I don’t think that the progress we made today would be considered enough to stop our process but the decision is not mine.”
Zarif tweeted an Annex II screenshot, which notes that lifting sanctions under the deal will enable a number of economic and financial processes, including money transfers, shipping and ship-building, and oil and gas trade, among other issues.
After the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the deal in 2018, Washington reimposed sanctions targeting “critical sectors of Iran’s economy, such as the energy, shipping and shipbuilding, and financial sectors,” according to the US Department of Treasury.
In another tweeted screenshot of a statement from the JCPOA Joint Commission, a sentence is highlighted which says that lifting sanctions in exchange for Iran’s nuclear-related commitments constitutes an essential part of the deal.
On Monday, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee issued a statement accusing Iran of being in violation of the deal, after media reports said Iran exceeded enriched uranium stockpile limits set by the treaty.
“Iran began exploiting the deal before it was even implemented, secretly preserving nuclear weapons infrastructure and openly violating limits on nuclear-related materials – only to have the parties reflexively ignore the violations, downplay them as minor, or provide still-confidential side deals and loopholes,” the statement asserts. “Unfortunately, but predictably, today we are already seeing many in Washington DC and abroad downplay Iran’s latest violation.”
In 2018, the US unilaterally withdrew from the historic JCPOA deal signed under the administration of US President Barack Obama and reimposed sanctions on Tehran previously lifted, including blocking the nation from trading with Europe-based companies. Following Washington’s withdrawal, all signatories have called for preservation of the JCPOA, with Iran repeatedly declaring its commitment to adhere to the terms of the deal.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has been signed in 2015 by Iran, the US, the EU, the UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China.