Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has rejected a proposal for a new "Trump deal" to resolve a nuclear spat as a “strange" offer, pointing the finger at the US President over his failure to deliver on promises.
"This Mr. Prime Minister in London, I don’t know how he thinks. He says let’s put aside the nuclear deal and put the Trump plan in action. If you take the wrong step, it will be to your detriment. Pick the right path. The right path is to return to the nuclear deal”, Rouhani said on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged Trump to replace the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal with his own new pact to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The US president responded by tweeting that he agreed with Johnson on a “Trump deal”.
Rouhani also argued that "all Trump has done is break promises", blaming London, Paris and Berlin for triggering the JCPOA’s dispute resolution mechanism after Iran announced that he breaches its commitments under the deal.
Zarif Says 'It Depends on Europe' if JCPOA Remains After Dispute Resolution Mechanism Activation
Rouhani's remarks come after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Wednesday that it’s up to Europe whether the JCPOA will remain in place after the activation of the dispute resolution mechanism.
"Well, it depends on Europe," Zarif said at the Raisina Dialogue conference in New Delhi, when asked whether the move meant the end of the nuclear deal.
The foreign minister added that the JCPOA was signed in 2015 amid conditions of "mutual mistrust," this is why no one presumed full compliance with the obligations, and therefore mechanisms for dealing with possible violations were created.
Iran, which has recently scrapped its remaining limitations under the JCPOA, remains ready to reverse its steps as soon as Europe resumes compliance, Zarif said, accusing Europe of violations.
"The steps that we have taken are all within the JCPOA ... And we have said, immediately after you [Europe] implement your commitments, we will reverse," Zarif said.
He also rejected any direct negotiations with the US on the JCPOA, adding that he wasn't sure of the durability of a “Trump deal”.
“We had a US deal and the US broke it. If we have a Trump deal, how long will it last, another 10 months...?” Zarif said.
The statement followed France, the UK and Germany issuing a joint statement on Tuesday indicating that they had been "left with no choice, given Iran's actions," but to refer Tehran’s alleged failure to meet its commitments under the JCPOA to the Joint Commission under the treaty's Dispute Resolution Mechanism.
For 20 months, the E3-following UK appeasement policy-has bowed to US diktat.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 13, 2020
That hasn't gotten it anywhere-and it never will.
E3 can save JCPOA but not by appeasing the bully & pressuring the complying party
Rather it should muster the courage to fulfill its own obligations.
This stipulates that if the party accused of failing to live up to its commitments does not resolve the complaint against it, the party or parties that triggered the mechanism can cease their own commitments to the JCPOA, notify the UN Security Council, or both.
Russia Warns on JCPOA's Dispute Resolution Mechanism
The Russian Foreign Ministry, in turn, said in a statement that Moscow is calling on the European parties to the Iran nuclear deal not to escalate tensions and to abandon their decision to trigger the treaty's Dispute Resolution Mechanism.
"We strongly urge the Eurotroika [of parties to the JCPOA] not to inflame tensions and to abandon any steps which call the prospects of the nuclear deal's future into question. Despite all the challenges it has faced, the JCPOA has not lost its relevance”, the statement underscored.
Iran started to gradually reduce its commitments under the JCPOA in May 2019, one year after the US unilaterally pulled out of the treaty and slapped Tehran with tough energy and banking sanctions. Since that time, Iran and the JCPOA's the European signatories attempted to negotiate tools with which Iran could be shielded from US sanctions, but to no avail.
Trump Ordered Soleimani's Killing '7 Months Ago', Zarif Says
Separately in his speech in New Delhi, Zarif focused on the recent killing of Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Qasem Soleimani, claiming that US President Donald Trump had authorised his assassination seven months ago.
In this vein, he called for creating a new coalition to fight Daesh* militants.
"I think we need to recreate the coalition against Daesh, because the current coalition against it used the basis of the coalition to kill the most effective anti-Daesh general [Qasem Soleimani]. We need a new coalition," Zarif underscored.
Aftermath of Soleimani’s Assassination
Soleimani was killed on 3 January in a drone strike on Baghdad International Airport ordered by Trump and slammed by Tehran as an act of terror. The attack further escalated US-Iranian tensions which had been simmering since Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018.
Iran retaliated by attacking US forces at the Ayn Al-Asad Air Base and a facility in Erbil in Iraq with ballistic missiles. There were no casualties in the attacks, which Tehran claimed were conducted in self-defence and in sync with the UN Charter.
Trump indicated that there would be no immediate US escalation in the conflict during his address to the nation on 8 January, when he signalled Washington’s readiness to make peace with Tehran if its leadership “changed its behaviour”. At the same time, POTUS underscored that Iran would never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon.
*Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/Islamic State), a terrorist group banned in Russia and a number of other countries