The Dangers of Refusing to Link JCPOA to Tehran’s Behavior

“What is negotiation but the accumulation of small lies leading to advantage?”
(Felix Dennis)

It was a nail-biting moment for many as they waited for President Donald Trump to announce his position on “certifying” the nuclear agreement between major Western powers (plus Russia and China) and Iran; officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Although many leaks and announcements about Trump’s position proved to be true, it was so important that it drew immediate responses.

In the Middle East, the region most directly concerned about Iran’s nuclear plans, contrast in reactions could not have been greater. While Iranian President Hassan Rouhani angrily condemned Trump’s position widespread applause came from Arab countries disadvantaged not only by Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but also its political exploitation of the international community’s silence towards it.

It is the silence that has allowed Iran to conquer and expand in the Region, thanks to its militias and conventional weapons.

Indeed, in the Middle East, specifically in the Gulf area, there are two serious threats posed by Iran’s ambitions for hegemony, including the nuclear agreement. The first is political, the second is nuclear.

The political threat is for all to see in the armed sectarian agitation, aided and sponsored by Tehran, whether through geographically dominant militias such as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in Iraq, ‘Fatemiyyoun’, ‘Zaynabiyyoun’ and Hezbollah militias in Syria and Lebanon, and the Houthis in Yemen; or through gangs involved in terrorism and clandestine activities as the ones we hear about in Bahrain, other Gulf states, and North African countries.

Sure enough, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which plays a vital role in Iran’s political, security and economic life, continuously highlights its interventions and has openly boasted its ‘control of four Arab capitals’. Moreover, Qassem Suleimani, the Commander of the ‘Quds Brigade’ of the IRGC, never misses an opportunity to appear inspecting the front lines in Iraq and Syria, although he is supposed to be ‘wanted’ and chased by the international community as a terrorist suspect!
As for the nuclear threat, it is no less dangerous from a purely scientific viewpoint.

It has a geological-seismic dimension that has adverse consequences on the safety of the Gulf region; given the fact that Iran straddles highly unstable, and thus, dangerous seismic faults. Furthermore, many Iranian nuclear reactors and installations have been built in vulnerable earthquake fault lines; and if we remember that only a short distance separates the port of Bushehr (home to one the major installations) and the eastern shores of the Arabian Peninsula, we may imagine what disaster may befall the whole region from any leakage like that we witnessed in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011.

Of course, the governments of Germany, France and the UK have every right to oppose or agree with Washington’s policies, but their insistence on defending the nuclear deal with Iran is based, in a large part, on economic interests. These governments, spurred by German, French and British companies and banks eager to enter Iran’s market of 90 million customers, refuse to acknowledge the link between the agreement and Iran’s harsh treatment of opposition at home, or its aggressive interventions in neighbouring Arab countries.

Indeed, Iran’s aggressive interventions have caused two major problems:

1- The refugee problem afflicting the countries of Western and Central Europe.

2- The problem of extremist terrorism under ‘Sunni’ Muslim slogans, provoked by Iran’s ‘Shi’ite’ Muslim slogans.

According to reliable statistics, Iran’s exports to EU countries have risen by % 375 between 2016 and 2017, European companies have invested heavily in the almost ‘virgin’ Iranian market, and there is rapid progress in banking facilities that is running parallel with these investments.

Thus, the three European governments’ positions look no different from that of Barack Obama’s administration which sponsored Tehran’s rehabilitation, accorded it all kinds of excuses, and gambled on making it a regional ally. They, just like the former US Democratic administration did before, are intentionally separating between nuclear technology and political repercussions. The three governments have ignored the fact that Iran’s lies second the World (after China) in the number of executions and first relative to population; and that many of these are of a political nature, mostly targeting ethnic and sectarian minorities.

Furthermore, the three governments, while claiming to defend human rights, have done nothing with regard to Tehran’s maltreatment of figures that were part of its regime’s elite like ex-premier Mir-Hossein Mousavi, and former Speaker Mehdi Karroubi, not to mention the first president of ‘The Islamic Republic’ Abolhassan Banisadr, still living in exile in France!

Berlin, Paris and London, which are repeating Obama’s same excuses that limit Muslim terror to Sunnis, refuse to admit Tehran’s active role in aiding and abetting even extremist Sunni Muslim groups worldwide, and co-operating with them, including Al Qaeda.

The three governments want us to accept former US Secretary of State John Kerry’s inverted logic when he stated, time and time again during the US-Iran nuclear negotiations, that they solely touched on the nuclear side and never included any “other issues”. It is the same “logic” that Kerry reiterated this week as he criticized President Trump’s refusal to “certificate” the JCPOA while taking a tough line too against the IRGC and its appendages after highlighting their destructive role regionally and globally. As for the “other issues” mentioned by Mr Kerry, and ignored then by the Obama administration, were Iran’s political, military and intelligence interventions in Arab countries.

Finally, the three European governments which have always claimed the moral high ground in welcoming refugees from the Middle East, could do better by adopting the maxim “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

The ounce of prevention in this case, is simply, ridding the World of the evils of extremism, destruction and hatred, all of which create and fuel terrorism.

IRGC Says No to Abandoning Ballistic Missile Program, Military Base Inspection

Commander of the Revolutionary Guards Aerospace Division says Brig.Gen Amir Ali Hajizadeh, confirms the refusal of his forces to give up the development of the ballistic program in Qom Monday speech

London- Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani vowed on Monday that Tehran will end its nuclear obligations should the United States withdraw from the nuclear deal, while the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards refused to halt the cleric-led nation’s development of its ballistic program.

Commander of the Revolutionary Guards Aerospace Division says Brig.Gen Amir Ali Hajizadeh said that Tehran will not stop boosting its missile capabilities under any circumstances, shrugging off US President Donald Trump’s call for constraints on Iran’s ballistic missile program.

Speaking at a cultural ceremony in the city of Qom on Monday, Brig.Gen.Hajizadeh said that “[even] if a wall is constructed all around the country, the production of missiles will not be halted because this is a completely indigenous and domestic industry,” he said.

The Iranian official’s remarks were made as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Washington will be working with allies to face threats posed by Tehran.

“We’re going to work with our European partners and allies to see if we can’t address these concerns,” said Tillerson.

On the other hand, Brig.Gen.Hajizadeh pointed to Washington’s hostile approaches to Tehran and added that “the US enmity is an unchangeable issue and strategy. [Therefore,] its tactics may change but the strategy itself never changes.”

The IRGC commander was also cited as playing down concerns about a possible war against Iran, saying “this is the enemy’s psychological warfare and our country is so strong that no one will dare attack or confront the Islamic Republic.”

He emphasized that US statesmen were under the influence of Zionists blasting US policy as “dictated by the Zionists.”

US President Donald Trump on October 13 refused to formally certify that Iran was complying with the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and warned that he might ultimately terminate the agreement.

While Trump did not pull Washington out of the nuclear deal, he gave the US Congress 60 days to decide whether to re-impose economic sanctions against Tehran that were lifted under the pact. Re-imposing sanctions would put the US at odds with other signatories to the accord and the European Union.

Trump also said his goal was to ensure Iran would never obtain a nuclear weapon, adding: “We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout.”

Rouhani: Iran Could Quit Nuclear Deal if New US Sanctions Imposed

Iran

London– The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was the focus point of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s speech before the Iranian parliament as he threatened to withdraw from the agreement if the US administration continued to impose sanctions on Tehran. At the same time, he reiterated the importance of the nuclear deal in enhancing both the foreign and domestic situations.

A week after announcing his list of suggested ministers, the Iranian Parliament started on Tuesday morning a series of sessions to weigh the credential of Rouhani’s choices for the vote of confidence.

Rouhani addressed the parliament and explained in a lengthy speech the government’s program for the upcoming four years. He also defended his choices of ministers and the new cabinet formation.

Eight hours after ongoing debate between members of parliament and suggested cabinet, the confidence vote’s session was postponed to be adjourned on Wednesday.

During his speech, Rouhani said that it’s now clear under the presidency of Donald Trump, US was showing the world or even its allies that it is not a good partner and a trustworthy negotiation party.

He went on to say that Iran has lived up to its commitments and will monitor any violation by other sides of the agreement.

Criticizing Trump’s threats, Rouhani said: “Those who are trying to return back to the language of sanction and threatening, are imprisoned in their own past illusions and are depriving themselves of the benefits of peace by making up enemies and promoting fear.”

He also said: “Those who have been speaking about tearing up the JCPOA in recent months are accusing Iran of violating the spirit of the agreement.”

The President stated that the last 7 reports issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have verified that Iran has been completely working within the JCPOA.

Iran’s president waived the possibility of withdrawing from the agreement “if America wants to go back to the experience (of imposing sanctions),” declaring that Iran would certainly return in a short time, not a week or a month but within hours, to conditions more advanced than before the start of negotiations.

This is the first time Rouhani suggests withdrawing from the JCPOA, especially after he said last week that Iran won’t be the first to withdraw the deal.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, however, mentioned last month few options which Iran is suggesting in case of imposed sanctions, including the choice to withdrawal.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to pull out of the nuclear agreement, and after a missile test at the end of January his administration declared that the US would no longer turn “a blind eye to Iran’s hostile and belligerent actions”.

Also, last week, Trump stated that Iran is not committed to the spirit of the agreement, days after US has lodged a complaint at the UN on behalf of UK, France and Germany following Iran’s successful missile launch test. The four countries considered Tehran to be in violation of the UN Resolution 2231 which requires Iran to stop any tests of missiles capable of carrying nuclear heads.

Over the past week, Iran had been under fire from conservative newspapers for not referring to the sanctions during his inauguration speech.

During his approval session for Rouhani’s second-term presidency, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei didn’t oppose the president’s aspirations for an active foreign policy, given that confronting the US administration is a priority of that policy.

Rouhani took a more balanced approach during the confidence vote session by confirming his country’s commitment to the deal, but at the same time threatening to withdraw.

He stressed that Iran wanted to abide by its commitments under the nuclear deal saying that JCPOA is the model for priority of peace and diplomacy over war and unilateralism. “Although this is what the Islamic Republic of Iran prefers, it will not be its only choice,” he stressed.

Rouhani also pointed out the impact of nuclear deal on Iran’s struggling economy, and promised a more targeted approach to social welfare and job creation, responding to attacks during the campaign that his agenda was mostly benefiting the rich.

He stated that the cabinet’s program was derived from his campaign program adding that Iran has been ruled by different presidents of distinct visions and affiliations.

He promised to eradicate absolute poverty and improve the conditions of the poorest “by five times” by the end of his term in 2021.

“The government is determined to carry out structural reforms. It sees the all-out fight against corruption as an absolute prerequisite for progress and social justice,” he said.

When introducing Minister of Economy and Finance Masoud Karbasian, President Rouhani called on the minister to prioritize combating money laundering, reforming banking system, organizing taxing system, and improving insurance industry. He asked the minister to prepare the country to adapt to a $50 billion budget of selling oil.

Rouhani stated that the country’s biggest challenge lies in an unbalanced budget, pointing out that his government failed to reduce its expenses after oil prices’ reduction.

The president also denied rumors that Iran’s Supreme Leader overlooked the suggested ministers’ list. Khamenei’s office issued a statement addressing the issue in which it said that the Supreme Leader only consults the President on three ministries: intelligence, defense and foreign.

In the speech Rouhani said that he wished to have three female ministers in the cabinet, but this is how it turned out to be.

Following the presidential speech, ten MPs, five proponents and five opponents, took the podium to speak for or against the ministerial nominees and the president’s plans.

Washington Seeks to Inspect Suspicious Iranian Military Bases

Iran

London – US President Donald Trump’s Administration is seeking to conduct inspections of suspicious Iranian military sites, in an attempt to verify Tehran’s commitment to the 2015 Nuclear Deal, according to well-informed sources in the US government.

The inspection is regarded as one of the most stringent approaches to prevent Iran’s access to nuclear weapons.

While the new US administration is trying to monitor the existing deal more rigorously, it is working to reform what Trump’s aides have described as “serious flaws” in the historic agreement.

The Associated Press (AP) quoted US officials, who were speaking on condition of anonymity, as saying that US effort “also includes discussions with European countries to negotiate a follow-up agreement to prevent Iran from resuming nuclear development after the deal’s restrictions expire” in around ten years.

During nuclear negotiations, Iran has fiercely opposed the inspection of its military posts and is likely to reject any new request to inspect military sites, prompting the US president to take the long-awaited decision on whether to abide by the international agreement that he has been avoiding.

In September 2015, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, visited the Parchin facility, where Iran was suspected of carrying out initial tests of nuclear weapons.

The agency then said it took samples from the site as part of secret negotiations leading to a nuclear deal.

At the end of August, the IAEA announced an agreement with Tehran to conduct inspections by Iranian experts.

According to AP, if Iran refuses the inspection request, the US president will have a solid argument to say that Tehran is breaching the deal. However, if Iran agrees to inspections, “those in Trump’s administration, who want to preserve the deal, will be emboldened to argue it’s advancing US national security effectively.”

Iran’s nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed in Vienna on July 14, 2015, between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, which include China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, in addition to Germany and the European Union.

Iranian Report Shows Foreign Banks’ Rejection to Deal with Teheran

Iran

London – While the Iranian Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday the details of consultations between Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif and Parliament’s Foreign Policy and National Security Committee, the latter criticized the US Administration for “intimidating” international banks from establishing financial ties with Iran.

In its second report on the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, the parliamentary committee said major banks refused to deal with Iran for fear of being subjected to US sanctions.

The report touches on the latest developments in the Iranian nuclear file in eight axes, including measures taken to implement the agreement, the country’s nuclear activity, in addition the sanctions imposed on the Persian State.

According to the report, more than 238 people and entities were still on the UN Security Council sanctions list, “even after 7 years” (8 years since the implementation of the agreement).

Iran’s financial and banking problems continue despite the passing of a year and a half on the implementation of the agreement, the report noted. It also accused the “5 + 1” joint commission of failing to implement its commitments with regards to the lifting of sanctions imposed on the Iranian financial sector.

The report pointed that the Iranian financial system has not been able to restore relations with major international banks.

While noting that “threats” of the US Treasury Department were the main reason for blocking the relationship between Iranian banks with foreign financial institutions, the report underlined significant economic and financial challenges facing the Iranian Central Bank.

Meanwhile, Zarif and his aides held a three-hour meeting on Wednesday with Parliament’s Foreign Policy and National Security Committee, according to deputy foreign minister, Hassan Ghashghavi.

The official said discussions touched on “diplomatic issues that were raised in the media in recent days.”

Tehran Accuses Washington of Violating Nuclear Deal

Iran

London – Senior Advisor to Iran’s Spiritual Leader, Ali Akbar Velayati, said that his country has sent a letter to the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, accusing Washington of breaching three clauses in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Velayati added that Iran’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif has informed the European side of the US violation of Clauses 26, 27 and 28 of the nuclear deal, by imposing new sanctions against the Persian State.

He also noted that the Europeans have confirmed that the US has breached the JCPOA.

The three clauses include the mechanisms related to the lifting of sanctions against Iran, administrative measures between Iran and the P5+1 group of states and Tehran’s commitment to the nuclear deal.

On June 15, the US Senate voted for a legislation to impose non-nuclear sanctions on Iran for its disputed ballistic missile programs.

While participants in the Vienna agreement have not yet announced their stance towards the new sanctions law that was adopted by the US Senate, Iran’s IRNA agency quoted well-informed sources as saying that the EU, Russia and China do not regard the US Senate decision to impose new sanctions as a violation to the JCPOA.

The bill imposes new sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program and other activities not related to the international nuclear agreement reached with the United States and other world powers.

Velayati, who is a member of Iran’s Supervising Board for Implementation of the JCPOA, said that his country would take the appropriate measures to respond to the new US bill.

He noted in this regard that the Iranian parliament would unanimously agree on a “comprehensive bill against the United States and the new sanctions law,” adding that the draft-law would be later referred to the government.

On a different note, Tehran has summoned the Swiss charge d’affaires to express its strong objection to the US government over “disturbing remarks” made by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Spokesperson of the Iranian Ministry of foreign Affairs Bahram Ghasemi said: “Following the interfering and meddling statements made by the US secretary of State Rex Tillerson and given the absence of the Swiss ambassador, charge d’affaires of the European country was summoned by the Ministry’s director general for US affairs to express Iran’s complaint about Tillerson’s anti-Iran remarks in the country’s House of Representative.”

He noted that the Embassy of Switzerland served as the protector of US interests in Iran.

P5+1-Iran Meeting in Vienna to Assess Nuclear Deal

London-The seventh meeting of the Iran-P5+1 Joint Commission, which monitors the implementation of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers, convened in the Austrian capital of Vienna on Tuesday.

The meeting of the commission tasked with monitoring the implementation of the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was headed by Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Helga Schmid and was attended by senior diplomats from other P5+1 group of countries in addition to Iranian Deputy Foreign Ministers Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-e-Ravanchi.

One of the key issues that the participants were scheduled to discuss was Iran’s request to purchase 950 tons of concentrated uranium, also known as yellowcake, from Kazakhstan in a three-year period.

This is the first meeting of the commission since the inauguration of US President Donald Trump on January 20.

The commission’s sixth meeting was held in Vienna on January 10 to discuss Washington’s extension of an anti-Iran sanctions law.

Speaking after a meeting with IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in Vienna on Monday, Araqchi said the Islamic Republic had lived up to its commitments under the JCPOA.

“As the entire world knows and repeated reports by the agency have confirmed, Iran has always been committed to its obligations and carefully implemented the JCPOA,” Araqchi, who is the Iranian head of the Joint Commission, said.

He, however, emphasized that the other side had not fully complied with its obligations under the JCPOA.

For his part, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday slammed the United States for violating both the spirit and the letter of the nuclear deal.

“We’ll see if US is prepared to live up to letter of the JCPOA let alone [its] spirit. So far, it has defied both,” Zarif said on his official Twitter account.

Iran’s Foreign Minister made the comments after Trump accused Tehran of “not living up to the spirit” of the nuclear agreement.

Notably, Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia — plus Germany signed the JCPOA on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.

Under the agreement, limits were put on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for, among other things, the removal of all nuclear-related bans against the Islamic Republic.

The UN Security Council later unanimously endorsed a resolution that effectively turned the JCPOA into international law.

IEAE Director Confident of US Cooperation on Iran Deal

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano of Japan, during a news conference after a meeting of the IAEA board of governors at the International Center in Vienna, Austria, June 8, 2015. AP

London- The chief of the UN atomic watchdog said on Monday he was confident following a visit to Washington of “very good cooperation” with the United States on Iran’s nuclear deal, despite President Donald Trump’s hawkish comments.

“The new US administration has not yet decided what to do about the 2015 Iran nuclear deal,” International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director

Chief Yukiya Amano said.

“The new administration of the United States just started and they are looking at this issue. They are looking not only at that issue but also at many other issues. So it is very early for them to give their assessment,” AFP quoted him as saying.

Amano held talks on Thursday with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other senior officials in Washington for the first time since Donald Trump became president in January.

During his confirmation hearing Tillerson had called for a “full review” of the deal, which extends the time Iran would need to produce a nuclear weapon if it chose to.

“I am confident that we can have very good cooperation with the United States in the future,” Amano told a news conference in Vienna, according to Reuters.

The 2015 agreement between Iran and major powers restricts Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of sanctions against the Islamic Republic, but Trump has called it “the worst deal ever negotiated” and said he wants to “police that contract so tough (the Iranians) don’t have a chance.”

Amano’s remarks on Monday, the first day of a quarterly meeting of the IAEA board of governors, were the first indication of how the talks in Washington had gone, though he did not provide specific details on what Tillerson told him.

With respect to Iran, I made the point that the JCPOA is a net gain from the verification point of view because now we have the strongest verification regime in Iran while the nuclear activities of Iran are reduced,” Amano said, calling the deal by its full name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The IAEA is in charge of policing the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities under the deal agreed between Iran, the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

U.S. House of Representatives Approves Bill to Prohibit Aircraft Sales to Iran

Washington– The U.S. has intensified its pressure on Iran, as the House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday that would prohibit the sale of commercial aircraft to the Persian State, in order to stop a deal by Boeing and Airbus that has already been approved by President Barack Obama’s Administration.

U.S. lawmakers passed the legislation by 243 against 174 votes. The new bill would prohibit the Treasury Department from issuing the licenses U.S. banks would need to complete the transactions.

The proposed deal may involve the purchase and leasing of more than 200 aircraft, which could generate thousands of new jobs, according to Democrats who opposed the legislation.

Republican representatives voiced their objection to the sale of aircraft to Iran, accusing the Persian country of sponsoring of terrorism and breaching international resolutions by testing ballistic missiles.

U.S. lawmaker Peter Roskam described the aircraft deal as a “scandal.” He harshly criticized Boeing and Airbus for seeking to do business with Iran.

“We need to make sure that the American financial system is not complicit in this deal,” Roskam said.

“We need to make sure that American taxpayers are not subsidizing this deal,” he added.

Democrats said the legislation to prohibit aircraft sales to Iran was an attempt by the Republicans to undermine last year’s nuclear agreement and embarrass the Obama administration.

Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency said last week that Iran had stockpiled slightly more than the allowable 130 metric tons of heavy water. Spent fuel can be taken from the heavy water to produce plutonium for a nuclear weapon.

Yukiya Amano, head of the IAEA, told the agency’s board that it was the second time Iran’s inventory had exceeded 130 metric tons. He confirmed that Iran had pledged to transfer excess heavy water out of the country under the agency’s supervision.

“It is important that such situations should be avoided in future in order to maintain international confidence in the implementation of the JCPOA, which represents a clear gain for nuclear verification in Iran,” Amano said.

Iran to Withdraw from Nuclear Deal if U.S. Sanctions are Renewed

Iran

London- Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Admiral Ali Shamkhani threatened to withdraw from the Nuclear Deal if Washington decided to renew sanctions on Tehran.

Shamkhani said: “If you extend the sanctions, this will mean kicking away the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and we will confront it through implementing powerful technical packages,” he said, without elaboration.

This warning came as the House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday to restore the bans in breach of a nuclear accord.

U.S. lawmakers voted 419 to one for a 10-year re-authorization of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), which was initially adopted in 1996 because Tehran was pursuing a non-civilian nuclear program.

The ISA will expire at the end of 2016 if it is not renewed, and the bill must be passed by the Senate before being signed by the U.S. president into law.

Iranian officials warned the U.S. against renewing the ban in light of the fact that Iran has had the sanctions lifted on the back of its 2015 nuclear accord with world powers, known as JCPOA.

The agreement was struck in July 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 group comprising the U.S., France, China, Britain, Russia and Germany.

Shamkhani further noted, “The Iranian nation is an independence-seeking one. U.S. leaders cannot sit in glass palaces saying they would either tear up the JCPOA or renegotiate it.”

For his part, Yahya Rahim Safavi, a top military adviser to Khamenei, also said if Washington annulled the JCPOA at Israel’s behest it would cost it dearly.