JCPOA Has Paid Expected Dividends

JCPOA Has Paid  Expected DividendsJCPOA Has Paid  Expected Dividends

A nuclear negotiator explained how Iran has benefited from the historic nuclear deal with world powers, underlining the recognition of its right to peaceful nuclear energy as the most notable outcome.

Speaking to state television on Monday, just three days ahead of the first anniversary of the accord, Abbas Araqchi added that establishing the country's right to nuclear energy was the biggest achievement of the agreement.

The pact was negotiated with P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) with the aim of ending a 12-year standoff over Tehran's nuclear program.

It went into force in January to grant Iran sanctions relief in return for temporary curbs on its civilian nuclear work.

Asked to what extent the pact has fulfilled the public's expectations, Araqchi, who is also a deputy foreign minister, said, "The people's main demand under pressure and sanctions was reflected in the popular slogan that 'we have an inalienable right to nuclear energy'. Has the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action not established that right? In my view, it has proved completely successful."

He noted that prior to the completion of the action plan, Iran was facing a ban on work related to the nuclear energy.

"[The powers] demanded that we abandon enrichment activities and shut down the Fordo facility. Thanks to the JCPOA, our nuclear energy activities are now considered legitimate," he said.

Tehran was committed by the pact to uninstall about two-thirds of centrifuges at Natanz and Fordo nuclear sites, convert the Arak heavy water reactor into a facility that produces less plutonium and cut its reserves of heavy water below 130 tons by selling, diluting or disposing of the excess amounts, under certain conditions.

Araqchi, who heads the Foreign Ministry's office for the JCPOA implementation, said the UN Security Council had prohibited other countries from helping Iran and asked Tehran to cease heavy water production.

"Now it has terminated its sanctions resolutions, recognized our right to heavy water and is helping modernize [the Arak facility]," he said.

"We have not suspended uranium enrichment even for one day … The JCPOA was meant to remove the sanctions, which had crippled Iran's economy. Now they have been lifted."

While acknowledging that the remaining non-nuclear US sanctions and those imposed over alleged money-laundering charges keep hurting the economy, the deputy minister noted that the action plan has committed the other side to removing or ceasing the application of only nuclear-related sanctions.

  US Paid for Heavy Water

Araqchi said the agreement has also benefited Iran by allowing it to market its heavy water supplies.

"A controversial deal finalized with the US companies in April to sell them 32 tons heavy water finally went ahead, despite opposition from hawkish US lawmakers," he said.

"We sold the Americans 32 tons and received the money."

Araqchi said Tehran also managed to prevent the lifting of sanctions from being tied to Iran's missile activities during the two years of negotiations that led to the deal.

"It was a huge accomplishment and took a lot of energy," he said.