Less than two weeks before Iran’s 60-day deadline for balancing the nuclear deal in accordance with the Article 36 of the agreement, British Deputy Foreign Secretary for the Middle East Andrew Murrison visited Tehran on Sunday, and held a meeting with Araqchi.
In the meeting, Murrison reaffirmed what he called his government’s commitment to the nuclear accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and said, “The UK is determined to bring the INSTEX financial channel into operation as soon as possible.” He also called for a continuation of Iran’s full commitment to the JCPOA.
In response, Iran’s deputy foreign minister highlighted the European countries’ procrastination and failure to honor their commitments under the JCPOA, saying, “Sadly, there is no balance between our obligations and rights under the JCPOA; therefore, there remains no more reason for Iran to continue honoring the JCPOA.”
“We are convinced that Europe’s lack of commitment to its JCPOA undertakings was not because of incapability, but lack of determination. Europe is not ready to pay any cost for preserving the JCPOA. European companies dare not to disobey the US Treasury Department’s orders, which means Europe’s lack of sovereignty, even inside its own borders,” Araqchi added.
“The decision to scale down Iran’s commitments under the JCPOA is a national and irreversible decision, and the Islamic Republic of Iran will keep to this trend until its demands are met,” he stated.
Araqchi also criticized the UK government’s one-sided stances on regional issues, including its baseless accusations against Iran after recent attacks on oil tankers, saying, “It appears that the British government’s entanglement with the predicament of Brexit has prevented it from having a correct understanding of the global realities. Immature companionship with the US’ bully-style measures will result in nothing but an increase in the Iranians’ historical aversion to the UK policies.”
The two officials also discussed bilateral issues, including Britain’s financial debts to Iran. Pointing to the UK government’s debt to the Iranian nation unpaid for forty years, Araqchi called for an immediate settlement of the debts, stressing that the UK government’s refusal to do so would not be acceptable with any justification.
On the prisoners with dual nationality and Nazanin Zaghari’s husband’s sit-in in front of the Iranian Embassy in London, Araqchi said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Judiciary will not be influenced by such acts of blackmail, and those convicted of espionage must serve their terms.”
The British diplomat had a meeting earlier in the day with Head of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations Kamal Kharrazi, who emphasized that Tehran will take more steps to scale back its JCPOA commitments if the other parties fail to meet the 60-day deadline.
On May 8, 2018, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the JCPOA, a 159-page nuclear agreement between Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany) came into force in January 2016.
Following the US withdrawal, Iran and the remaining parties launched talks to save the accord.
However, the EU’s failure to ensure Iran’s economic interests forced Tehran to stop honoring certain commitments under JCPOA on May 8, 2019.
Iran has also set a 60-day deadline for the remaining JCPOA parties to fulfill their undertakings.