TEHRAN Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the remarks made by US President Donald Trump on the nuclear deal as irrational, adding that Washington's insistence on excessive demands prove that the 2015 agreement was rational.
At a press conference shortly before leaving Washington for the Venezuelan capital city of Caracas on Friday, Zarif said the United States will get nowhere with its excessive demands from Tehran, stressing that the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has been a rational agreement.
Reacting to US President Donald Trump's recent calls for the suspension of Iran's uranium enrichment and concluding a 100-year agreement with the country, Zarif said, These remarks indicate that the JCPOA is a rational agreement.
Those who say these non-rational things to Trump should also say that in the early 2000s, when they argued in favor of zero-enrichment policy against Iran and prevented an agreement between Iran and the European Union, Iran's level of enrichment increased to more than 100 times, Zarif further said.
If Trump wants to try his chance with this wrong move, he will be our guest, he added.
Touching upon the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), Zarif also said that Iran has repeatedly made it clear that the "INSTEX is a prelude to the EU's implementation of its commitments.
He also said that if the Europeans were willing to take necessary measures to save the JCPOA, they should operationalize the INSTEX.
The Europeans repeatedly made 11 commitments after the pullout of the US from the deal, plus their own obligations under Annex 2 of the JCPOA; INSTEX --itself not an obligation -- is required for those commitments to be carried out, Iran's top diplomat said.
We are waiting for the Europeans to fulfill their commitments, including ensuring oil sales, shipping, banking and investment as well as scientific cooperation, Zarif added.
On his trip to Latin America, Zarif added that he would participate in a Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Venezuela.
Of course, I will use the opportunity to hold talks with the Venezuelan officials on the economic cooperation between the two sides, and on how the Islamic Republic can help restore peace to the country," he said.
In Nicaragua and Bolivia, we will discuss political and economic cooperation. We have very good friends in South and Latin America, and these countries are political and economic partners of the Islamic Republic, Zarif further noted.
Separately on Friday, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said Zarif has traveled to Venezuela to take part in a NAM summit, but unfortunately, US officials are using every opportunity to spread propaganda and distort the reality.
His remarks came in response to comments made by US Vice President Mike Pence, who on Thursday accused Iran of extending its "destabilizing activities extend well beyond the Middle East.
Washington withdrew from the internationally-endorsed 2015 nuclear deal with Iran on May 2018, reimposed the toughest-ever sanctions against the country and started a plan to zero down Tehran's oil sales.
Under the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and six world powers in July 2015, Tehran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.
Yet, Iran continued compliance with deal, stressing that the remaining signatories to the agreement (specially the Europeans) had to work to offset the negative impacts of the US pullout for Iran if they want Tehran to remain in compliance. The Iranian officials had earlier warned that the European Union's failure in providing the needed ground for Tehran to enjoy the economic benefits of the nuclear deal would exhaust the country's patience.
Almost a year later, however, the EU failed to provide Tehran with its promised merits. Then, the US state department announced that it had not extended two waivers, one that allowed Iran to store excess heavy water produced in the uranium enrichment process in Oman, and one that allowed Iran to swap enriched uranium for raw yellowcake with Russia.
Until now, Iran was allowed to ship low-enriched uranium produced at Natanz to Russia before it hit the 300-kg limit and the US measure leaves no way for Tehran other than exceeding the ceiling for storing the enriched uranium in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal.
Also, the United States would no longer waive sanctions that allowed Iran to ship heavy water produced at its Arak facility beyond a 300-ton limit set in the 2015 nuclear deal to Oman for storage which again forces Tehran to store it inside country in violation of the nuclear deal.
In return, Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) announced in a statement on May 8 that the country had modified two of its undertakings under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in return for the US abrogation of the deal and other signatories' inability to make up for the losses under the agreement, warning that modifications would continue if the world powers failed to take action in line with their promises.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran declares that at the current stage, it does not anymore see itself committed to respecting the limitations on keeping enriched uranium and heavy water reserves," the statement said.
Then Iran gave Europe 60 days to either normalize economic ties with Iran or accept the modification of Tehran's obligations under the agreement and implement the Europe's proposed INSTEX to facilitate trade with Iran.
Iran set up and registered a counterpart to INSTEX called Special Trade and Financing Instrument between Iran and Europe (STFI) to pave the way for bilateral trade.
Then on June 28, Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Helga Schmid announced that INSTEX has become operational.
"INSTEX now operational, first transactions being processed and more EU Members States to join. Good progress on Arak and Fordow projects," Schmid wrote on her twitter account after a meeting of the Joint Commission on JCPOA ended in Vienna following three and a half hours of talks by the remaining signatories to the deal (the EU3 and Russia and China).
It was the 12th meeting of the Joint Commission on JCPOA in Vienna.
Meantime, seven European countries--Austria, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden--in a joint statement expressed their support for the efforts for implementation of the INSTEX.
Later, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi described the nuclear deal joint commission meeting with the Europeans as "a step forward", but meantime, reminded that it did not meet Iran's expectations.
It was a step forward, but it is still not enough and not meeting Iran's expectations, said Araqchi, who headed the Iranian delegation at the JCPOA joint commission meeting in Vienna.
In addition to their defiance of the JCPOA, the Europeans showed more animosity towards Iran earlier this month and seized an Iranian oil tanker by Britain at the US request.
Acting Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said Gibraltar detained the supertanker Grace 1 after a request by the United States to Britain.
Borrell was quoted by Reuters as saying that Spain was looking into the seizure of the ship and how it may affect Spanish sovereignty as it appears to have happened in Spanish waters.
Spain does not recognize the waters around Gibraltar as British.
Experts believe that the measure taken by the British government in seizing the Syria-bound Iranian tanker is illegal and can have serious consequences for the government in London.
Source: Fars News Agency