Plans in Place to Exploit JCPOA Potential

Plans in Place to Exploit JCPOA PotentialPlans in Place to Exploit JCPOA Potential

Iran is well-positioned to take full advantage of the situation arising after the July 14 nuclear agreement, a deputy foreign minister said.

The deal, negotiated with P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany), went into force on Jan. 16 to grant Iran sanctions relief against temporary curbs on its nuclear program.

"It is hard to predict what the next year holds. But we are determined to fully exploit the advantages of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action," Majid Takht-Ravanchi said in an interview with ISNA on Sunday, using the formal title of the deal.

He was responding to a question about how the JCPOA would be affected when power changes hands in the US and a Republican replaces the incumbent President Barack Obama after the next presidential election in almost a year.

"You can't be expected to develop the capacity overnight to fully exploit the deal's potential. But the government has long been planning to identify the opportunities and position itself for developments after the JCPOA," he said.

"Numerous economic meetings have been held by the government since the nuclear pact was clinched in Vienna."

The removal of international sanctions, which is giving Tehran access to billions of dollars worth of previously frozen overseas assets and will open Iran's vast, untapped market to international businesses, is expected to significantly boost the domestic economy.

  Missile Issue

Takht-Ravanchi said Iran's missile issue was one of the toughest sticking points during about 18 months of intense negotiations culminating in the deal.

"We explicitly refused to discuss our missile program in the negotiations," he said.

"Eventually, Tehran managed to get the other side to agree that the negotiations would only address the nuclear issue."

Tehran test-fired a missile in October, which the United States said would be capable of carrying a nuclear payload and therefore violated UN Security Council Resolution 1929, which was adopted in 2010 and was in place until the JCPOA took effect.

Resolution 2231, adopted by the UNSC days after the conclusion of the JCPOA to endorse the international agreement, terminated all previous nuclear-related resolutions against Iran.

Immediately after the JCPOA implementation, the US imposed fresh sanctions on 11 individuals and organizations linked to the Iranian missile program.

  Lack of Legal Basis  

Takht-Ravanchi said Resolution 1929 cannot have been drawn on to impose the new sanctions, as it automatically terminated on the implementation day.

"In our view, Resolution 1929 has ended and become history. So any action based on this resolution lacks legal standing. There has been no formal comment that the sanctions being in line with the previous resolutions," he said.

The diplomat said Iran's missile launch is no breach of Resolution 2231 as it has banned testing missiles designed to deliver nuclear warheads, a capability that was lacking in the tested missiles.

"Resolution 1929 targeted all Iran's missile activities so that any production and testing of ballistic missiles would be considered a violation of the resolution… There are significant differences between Resolutions 1929 and 2231 in wording and tone," he said.  

Under Resolution 2231, Iran is simply "called upon" to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to carry nuclear weapons for up to eight years, which language does not make it obligatory.