Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the country has left the door open for negotiations over the fate of the 2015 nuclear deal despite its decision to further scale back its nuclear commitments.
Speaking to IRIB on Friday night. Zarif referred to the country`s recent decision to implement the fourth phase of reducing its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in reaction to the US` withdrawal from the deal and Europe`s failure to fulfill its side of the bargain.
`We had made it clear that if the measures of other parties do not yield results. we`d take the next steps to decrease our JCPOA commitments.` the top Iranian diplomat said upon arrival in Turkey to attend the 24th meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).
`The [Iranian] president announced on the first day of scaling back the JCPOA commitments that we will continue the negotiations despite taking our steps within the framework of the JCPOA.` he said. adding that Tehran started the talks from the very first day and `did not say no to negotiation.`
`We will hold talks with those parties interested in preserving the JCPOA. the French will continue their consultations on the issue. and we will leave the door open for negotiation and understanding.` Zarif noted.
The top Iranian diplomat`s remarks came a couple of days after Iran restarted enrichment at its Fordow nuclear facility as the fourth step away from the 2015 accord.
The country had earlier reduced its commitments in three other phases. but the latest one. the injection of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas into centrifuges at Fordow. is believed to be the most important step so far. and a serious warning to other parties.
The nuclear deal was reached in Vienna in July 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 group of states — the US. Britain. France. Russia. and China plus Germany. It lifted nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran. which. in turn. voluntarily changed some aspects of its nuclear energy program.
The US. however. left the accord in May last year and reinstated its unilateral sanctions against Iran. The deal`s European partners. meanwhile. have bowed to Washington’s pressure. failing to honor their contractual obligations to protect Iran’s economy in the face of America’s “toughest-ever“ bans.