JCPOA Not One-Sided Road

“Anything other than the good faith implementation of JCPOA is contrary to the letter and spirit of the nuclear agreement”
Reza NajafiReza Najafi
Iran opposes the inclusion of confidential safeguard information in any upcoming IAEA report under the pretext of more transparency

Iran reiterated its stance that it would stick to the limits set by the 2015 nuclear deal, as long as other parties live up to their side of the agreement.    

Officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the accord was meant to settle a more than a decade-long dispute with the West over Tehran's nuclear program by scaling it down in return for sanctions relief. The International Atomic Energy Agency has been tasked with monitoring and verifying Iran's compliance with the action plan.

"In the recent visit of the director general [of IAEA, Yukiya Amano] to Iran, our authorities at the highest levels stressed that JCPOA is not a one-sided road and Iran's implementation of its commitments will continue if all other parties to JCPOA continue fulfill their side of the deal fully and unconditionally," said Reza Najafi, Iran's envoy to the Vienna-based agency.

"Anything other than the good faith implementation is contrary to the letter and spirit of JCPOA," he said, according to a transcript of his statement at a meeting of the IAEA board of governors on Thursday.

Amano reconfirmed Iran's full compliance with the deal during his last month's visit to Tehran, where he met top Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

  Confidentiality Underlined

Najafi warned IAEA against any breach of confidentiality by going beyond its mandate to disclose the Islamic Republic's national secrets, citing the text of the deal that calls on the agency "to take every precaution to protect commercial, technological and industrial secrets as well as other confidential information it is privy to".

"I would like to refer to few delegations that asked again for disclosure of the raw and detailed confidential safeguards information, contrary to the approved mandate [of the IAEA board of governors]. Such a request implies that the agency should not be trusted at all and the agency itself should be verified again independently … We strongly oppose the inclusion of confidential safeguard information in any upcoming report under the pretext of more transparency," he said.

US President Donald Trump has demanded the pact, reached under his predecessor Barack Obama, be renegotiated to broaden its scope to check Tehran's missile and regional activities.

His controversial announcement on Oct. 13 that he no longer would certify Tehran's compliance with the JCPOA put him at odds with the other parties to the deal and gave the US Congress a mid-December deadline to decide whether to reimpose Iran sanctions.

The reinstatement of sanctions would, in effect, put Washington in violation of the deal and would likely lead to its collapse. Iran argues that all the participants in the multiparty nuclear negotiations agreed that the 2015 agreement's scope would remain confined to the nuclear issue and that its missile activities are purely defensive and legitimate.

Trump's decertification of Iran on flimsy grounds came despite IAEA's reports that have verified Iran's full compliance. He has criticized the agency for allegedly failing to use its full inspection authority in monitoring Iran's nuclear activities and is lobbying the nuclear watchdog to pressure the Islamic Republic by seeking access to military sites.

Iranian officials have ruled out any foreign visits to military facilities, citing national security concerns.

IAEA refuted Trump's decertification announcement in its latest report on verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 earlier this month. The report said Iran has remained within the main limits set by the deal on its nuclear activity.

Referring to that report, Najafi urged the UN nuclear watchdog to refrain from any "arbitrary interpretation" of the deal's terms.

"My delegation would like to put on record our strong reservation on some new arbitrary interpretations contrary to the clear text of [some] sections of … JCPOA ... The agency is not in a position to interpret JCPOA. It is exclusively the duty of the Joint Commission to do so by consensus. Thus, paragraph 26 of the report is not factually correct and should be rectified," he said, without elaborating.

Najafi was referring to a panel of representatives from all the signatories to the nuclear accord, assigned to oversee it and address issues arising from its implementation.  

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