“Historical experiences demonstrate that westerners are not trustworthy, and that they do not honor their commitments,” The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Lieutenant Commander Brigadier General Hossein Salami told the Tasnim News Agency on Saturday.
His comments came a week after Iran and the G5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) signed a six-month deal on Tehran’s nuclear program after three rounds of intensive talks in the Swiss city of Geneva on November 24.
The deal is intended to allow time to negotiate a comprehensive agreement on the nuclear program.
In exchange for Iran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities and allow more inspection of its nuclear facilities, the six world powers have agreed to impose no new sanctions on Iran and to suspend some existing ones on its trade in petrochemicals, automobiles, gold and precious metals, civil aviation parts, and food and medicine. They will also let Tehran receive a small portion of its frozen assets while a permanent agreement is sought.
The IRGC commander further made it clear that Iran will retaliate in case the western side fails to fulfill its promises defined in the deal.
“This is clear and obvious that if they do not fulfill their commitments, we will not do that either,” Brigadier General Salami explained.
The agreement runs for six months while negotiations continue on a comprehensive final deal.
In relevant remarks on November 24, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stressed that if any new sanctions are imposed against Iran by the West, the nuclear accord will “end” in failure.
“If there are new sanctions, then there is no deal. It’s very clear. End of the deal. Because of the inability of one party to maintain their side of the bargain,” Zarif said in an interview with NBC News.
The top Iranian diplomat had also called on all negotiating parties in nuclear talks with Tehran to seize the opportunity brought by the landmark deal, and added the US has to restore the confidence of the Iranian nation.
“I think the West, particularly the US, needs to do a lot to at least partially restore confidence, the confidence of the Iranian people,” he noted.
Some US lawmakers have called for new sanctions on Iran, saying that greater pressure could force Iran to yield more. But US President Barack Obama has called that unrealistic, saying new sanctions could derail any chance for diplomacy to succeed. Washington and the other five countries negotiating with Iran have pledged not to impose new nuclear-related sanctions over the next six months, so long as Iran sticks to its side of the deal.
A bill to impose new sanctions on Iran has been shelved in the Senate after Obama's administration called on lawmakers to hold off on the move to allow time to pursue a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear problem.
The deal does not need to be ratified by Congress and Obama is using his executive power to temporarily suspend some existing US sanctions on Iran.