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JCPOA Adherence in American Interest

The nuclear agreement is not a bilateral agreement between the United States and Iran so that the US can easily renegotiate or wriggle out of it
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addresses a seminar in Tokyo on Dec. 9. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addresses a seminar in Tokyo on Dec. 9.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said it is in the interest of the United States to uphold the Iran nuclear agreement.

During his electoral campaign, US president-elect, Donald Trump, railed against the international deal, describing it as "a disaster" and "the worst deal ever negotiated".

It was concluded between Iran and P5+1 (the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany) in July 2015.

"The nuclear agreement is not a bilateral agreement between the United States and Iran so that the US can easily renegotiate or wriggle out of it. It is an agreement in which the European Union directly participated and it has been endorsed by the United Nations in a resolution," Zarif was quoted as saying by IRNA on Thursday.

"I believe it is in the interest of the US and other sides to uphold the international deal because the best the Americans can achieve [if they seek to do otherwise] would be the restoration of pre-JCPOA sanctions."

JCPOA stands for the formal title of the accord, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which has been in force since mid-January to temporarily curb Tehran's nuclear program in return for giving it relief from international sanctions.  

"Even if the US is able to reimpose the sanctions, what would it gain from it? If it were possible to destroy our economy, why did they decide to come to the negotiating table in the first place?" he asked.

The deal emerged from about two years of negotiations.

Zarif, who was in Japan on an Asian tour that also took him to India and China, made the statement in an address to a seminar in Tokyo.

A bill to extend the Iran Sanctions Act for 10 years has passed both the US Senate and House of Representatives and needs a presidential approval to become law. US State Department has said President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.

The Congress move has met strong criticism from top Iranian officials, including Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, who have railed against the ISA renewal and denounced it as a violation of the historic pact and made clear that its reimposition would prompt Iran's retaliation.

While it will be one year next month since the action plan was put in place, foreign banks and firms still keep clear of the lucrative Iranian market on fears of punishment if they break the remaining US sanctions.

They are banned from using the US dollar and financial system to clear transactions with Iranians.

Zarif said the ban is only denying the Americans the great profits offered by Iran's untapped market to overseas businesses.

"Sanctions are of no impact [on Iran] and will not break the Iranian's resolve … The US has sanctioned itself by restricting dollar-denominated transactions with Iran," he said.

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