Iran’s Zarif Hits Back at US’ Hook over JCPOA Remarks

Iran’s Zarif Hits Back at US’ Hook over JCPOA Remarks

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif lashed out at US Special Representative on Iran Brian Hook for his recent comments against the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, known as the JCPOA.

“Making foolish claims by US officials is nothing new,” Zarif told reporters on Wednesday.

This came after Hook, in recent comments addressing US presidential contender Joe Biden, said, “Nothing will be left of the JCPOA until you return to it.”

Biden in an electoral speech had spoken of Washington’s conditional return to the JCPOA if he wins the presidential race. Biden said the United States’ first condition to return to the JCPOA would be Iran’s renewing commitment to the nuclear deal. He promised his supporters to reinforce and expand the JCPOA in cooperation with US allies.

Zarif said, “It is none of Brian Hook’s business to say ‘nothing will be left of the JCPOA’. What is important is between Iran and the JCPOA’s remaining parties”.

“We have carried out all our measures within the framework of the JCPOA,” the top diplomat said, calling on the remaining parties to change their “behavior” so that Tehran can return to the full implementation of the accord.   

In apparent reference to US President Donald Trump, the Iranian foreign minister further said it is not unexpected of those advising people to drink or inject disinfectants to fight the coronavirus to come and say they are still a party to the agreement after officially leaving it.

Last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington technically remained a “participant” in the deal in order to use a mechanism embedded within the accord to make the UN maintain an arms embargo on Tehran.

Diplomats say the United States would face a messy battle if it tries to trigger a return of sanctions, which includes the arms ban on Iran.

Hook wrote in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that “one way or another” Washington would ensure the arms embargo remains. He said the United States has drafted a Security Council resolution and “will press ahead with diplomacy and build support.”

A resolution needs nine yes votes and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, France or Britain to be adopted by the 15-member Security Council. Russia has already signaled it is opposed to extending the arms embargo.

“If American diplomacy is frustrated by a veto, however, the US retains the right to renew the arms embargo by other means,” Hook wrote, citing the ability of a party to the Iran nuclear deal to trigger a so-called snapback of all UN sanctions on Iran, which includes the arms embargo.

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