U.S. cannot honor JCPOA for political reasons, U.S. secretary of state says

Tillerson: Iran complying with nuclear deal

September 22, 2017

TEHRAN – U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met on Thursday with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, along with chief diplomats whose countries are signatory to the July 2015 nuclear agreement on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Speaking to press after the meeting, Tillerson said that the United States is not disputing that Iran is in technical compliance with the nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

However, Tillerson said the White House is now turning its back on the deal because of “political aspects.”

Tillerson nevertheless described the meeting as “a good opportunity to meet, shake hands” and added “the tone was very matter-of-fact.”

He said he and Zarif “didn't throw shoes at one another” at their first meeting, but added that it isn’t clear whether they will be able to agree on the future of the nuclear deal.

Detailing U.S. President Donald Trump's claims that Iran is “destabilizing” the region, Tillerson said Trump’s statement addresses Iran’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as well as non-nuclear ballistic missiles, which Tillerson claimed “threaten U.S. national security.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, speaking at a press conference following his speech at the UN, said that a U.S. betrayal of the deal will make future negotiations impossible.

“We held negotiations for many years on the agreement... but today the Americans talk of leaving the deal. So why should negotiations on other issues be held [with the U.S.]?” Rouhani said, adding that further negotiations would be a “waste of time,” given this history.

Rouhani said that by turning their backs on the deal, the U.S. will “discredit itself globally,” and lose the trust of the international community to make negotiations in the future.

Following the meeting, Zarif said that there seemed to be a consensus that it is necessary for all signatories to respect the deal and remain committed to it. “The U.S. is detached from the realities of the international community,” he said.

The Trump administration has been calling for a renegotiation of the JCPOA, a request strongly refused by all other parties.

Federica Mogherini, the European Union foreign policy chief, agreed with the Iranian diplomat in saying that “there is no need to renegotiate” the nuclear agreement. Mogherini said that all parties in the meeting agreed that Iran is in compliance with the deal.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that his country is “extremely concerned” by the recent statements of the Trump administration regarding the JCPOA.

French President Emmanuel Macron praised the JCPOA as “an agreement that's essential to peace.”

Even conservative British Prime Minister Theresa May gave a strong backing to the deal, saying Britain is “determined to continue it.”

SP/PA
 

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