Reversibility of Iran’s JCPOA Commitments Underlined

Reversibility of Iran’s JCPOA Commitments UnderlinedReversibility of Iran’s JCPOA Commitments Underlined

Iran is ready to swiftly restore levels of nuclear activity it agreed to limit under the 2015 landmark deal in case of any breach by the other side, a lawmaker warned.

"In a visit to our nuclear facilities and after talking with [nuclear] scientists, we were convinced that the national nuclear industry is capable of going back to pre-JCPOA conditions," Mojtaba Zolnouri added in an interview with ICANA on Sunday.

He was using the formal name of the pact, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

"If P5+1 violate the JCPOA to test [Iran's response], they will see Iran's reversibility at a speed beyond their imagination," Zolnouri, who is a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, added.

The action plan was concluded between Iran and P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany) last year and was put in place in mid-January to lift sanctions against Tehran in return for curtailing its nuclear program.

US Republican lawmakers, who unanimously oppose the action plan, have made repeated attempts to scuttle it.

In its latest move, the US Congress passed legislation to extend the Iran Sanctions Act for a decade, which became law without needing President Barack Obama to sign it.

ISA was first adopted in 1996 to target Iran's energy sector.

The Congress move has met the strong criticism of top Iranian officials, including the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, who have denounced it as a violation of the historic pact and have threatened to retaliate.

"The current US administration … has so far committed numerous infringements in relation to the nuclear agreement," Ayatollah Khamenei said last month.

"If the extension [to the ISA] is enforced, it would constitute a violation of the JCPOA, and they should know that it would definitely prompt a response by the Islamic Republic."

About two weeks ago, Rouhani ordered the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran to begin developing nuclear-powered propulsion systems for use in marine transportation.

The president also tasked Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif with using the deal's mechanism to counter any breach committed by the other side to the accord and report to him monthly.

***Joint Commission Meeting

A panel of representatives from all parties to the nuclear deal assigned to monitor and address issues arising from its implementation, known as the Joint Commission, will meet soon at Iran's request to discuss the issue.

Based on the dispute resolution mechanism provided by the pact, Iran can take its grievances to the Joint Commission and if the issue remains unresolved, to foreign ministers of the parties to the accord and finally to an advisory board that would consist of three members, one independent and the other two appointed by each of the participants in the dispute.

If the issue is still not resolved and Iran deems it to constitute a breach of the nuclear deal, it could treat it as grounds to cease performing its commitments in whole or in part and/or notify the UN Security Council that the issue constitutes a significant non-performance.

Adding to the Islamic Republic's grievances, about a year after the deal took full effect, overseas banks and firms still remain wary of entering the Iranian market, mainly on fears of punishment for unwittingly violating a US ban on the use of the dollar and Washington's financial system in clearing Iran-related transactions.

The deal also faces serious threat from hawkish US president-elect, Donald Trump, who is due to take office in less than a month.

During his electoral campaign, Trump criticized the international deal, describing it as "a disaster" and "the worst deal ever negotiated".

He once vowed to tear it up if he became president but later backtracked on that threat, conceding that it would be too hard to dismantle a deal enshrined in a UN resolution.

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