Iran tells UN it cannot uphold nuclear deal ‘alone’

Iran tells UN it cannot uphold nuclear deal ‘alone’

Amid Iranian threats to violate the international agreement, Tehran’s envoy says accord’s other signatories must compensate his country

Iranian envoy to the UN Majid Takht Ravanchi briefs journalists outside the Security Council on June 24, 2019. (Loey Felipe/UN)
Iranian envoy to the UN Majid Takht Ravanchi briefs journalists outside the Security Council on June 24, 2019. (Loey Felipe/UN)

Iran told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that it cannot “alone” save the nuclear deal, turning up pressure on the Europeans, Russia and China as it moved toward a possible breach of its commitments to limit its nuclear activities.

“Iran has done a lot and much more than its fair share to preserve the nuclear deal,” Iranian Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi told a council meeting.

“Iran alone cannot, shall not and will not take all of the burdens anymore to preserve the JCPOA,” he said, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as the deal is formally known.

Iran has said that as of June 27, it will have more than the 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of enriched uranium that it was allowed to have under the deal, the result of 12 years of tough diplomatic negotiations.

That move has raised alarm among the other signatories — Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — which have urged Iran to stick to its commitments.

Iran’s uranium conversion facility near Isfahan, which reprocesses uranium ore concentrate into uranium hexafluoride gas, which is then taken to Natanz and fed into the centrifuges for enrichment, March 30, 2005. (AP/Vahid Salemi)

But the Iranian ambassador argued that the US exit from the nuclear deal and the re-imposition of sanctions have rendered the JCPOA “almost fully ineffective.”

Ravanchi insisted that the other signatories, namely Britain, France and Germany, must find a way to compensate Iran.

Iran’s decision to scrap limits imposed by the nuclear deal on its uranium enrichment “may not help preserve” the landmark agreement, UN political chief Rosemary DiCarlo told the council.

Six European countries separately released a joint statement saying they were “extremely concerned” by Iran’s latest move.

“We strongly urge Iran to continue to implement its commitments under JCPOA in full and to refrain from escalatory steps,” said the statement from Britain, France, Germany, Poland, Belgium and Estonia.

Under the 2015 deal, Iran pledged to reduce its nuclear capacities for several years and allow in inspectors in exchange for sanctions relief.

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after their joint press conference at Abe’s official residence in Tokyo, June 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, pool)

Also Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron said he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have agreed to bolster naval defense ties in the Indo-Pacific region and shared concerns about growing tensions in the Middle East.

Macron, in Tokyo ahead of this week’s Group of 20 summit in Osaka, told a joint news conference that he also hoped tensions over the US-China trade dispute will ease during the summit.

The two leaders discussed nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran and issues to be raised at the G-20 summit.

Macron said he and Abe agreed on the need to ensure the verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of both Iran and North Korea.

“On both these topics we have a common point of view and a real will, in the two cases, to reach collective security by the non-acquisition of nuclear weapons or the total, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization,” Macron said. “And we have the will to ensure the stability of these regions.”

Abe said protecting the safety of the Strait of Hormuz is also crucial. During his recent visit to Tehran in hopes of de-escalating tensions between Iran and the US, a Japanese oil tanker was attacked, though all 21 crew members were safe.

“Securing safety of navigation at the Strait of Hormuz, which connects Europe and Asia, is extremely important for the peace and stability of international society including Japan and France,” Abe said. He said he and Macron shared concerns about the rising tension in the Middle East, and reaffirmed their cooperation in efforts to stabilize the situation.

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