Iran says it will withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal if big banks continue to avoid doing business with the Islamic republic, deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi said on Thursday, speaking from London.
The Islamic Republic agreed to restrict its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of crippling sanctions by the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
Following the deal, however, major banks have continued to avoid doing business with Iran for fear of violating remaining U.S. sanctions - which Iran says has hampered their efforts to rebuild foreign trade and attract investment.
Most of it is because of this atmosphere of uncertainty which President Trump has created around JCPOA, which prevents all big companies and banks to work with Iran, it's a fact, and it's a violation lead by the United States. -Abbas Araghchi
Compounding Iran's woes are comments from President Trump, who told Europeans on January 12 that they must "fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal" or he would re-impose the sanctions lifted by the Obama administration as part of the pact. Trump set a May 12 deadline to review fresh "waivers" on U.S. sanctions.
The May 12 deadline represents an opportunity for Trump to pull the U.S. out of another international deal. He has already abandoned the Paris climate accord and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation trade deal. He wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, a 24-year-old trade pact with Canada and Mexico. -USA Today
Trump sees three major defects in the deal; its failure to address Iran's ballistic missile program, the terms by which inspectors are allowed to visit suspected Iranian nuclear enrichment sites, and "sunset" clauses on Iran's nuclear program which expire after 10 years.
Araghchi contends that Trump's interpretation of the sunset clause is incorrect, and that Trump's continued trash-talking is in violation of the deal itself;
“There is no sunset clause in the JCPOA. Although the U.S. administration and Trump are talking about sunset clause and that JCPOA is just for 10 years, that is not true,” he said.
You know, every time President Trump makes a public statement against JCPOA saying it's a bad deal, it's the worst deal ever, I am going to fix it, I am going to change it, all these statements, public statements are a violation of the deal. Violation of the letter of the deal, not a sprit, the letter. If you just see paragraph 28 it clearly says that all JCPOA participants should refrain from anything which undermines successful implementation of JCPOA, including in their public statements of silly officials.
The foreign minister said that if Iran does not receive the deal's much touted economic benefits soon, it will likely pull out of the deal before the May 12 deadline.
"If the same policy of confusion and uncertainties about the (deal) continues, if companies and banks are not working with Iran, we cannot remain in a deal that has no benefit for us," Araqchi told an audience at the London-based think tank Chatham House. "That’s a fact."
What of the nuclear program?
When asked what Iran would do if the nuclear deal is scuttled, Araghchi replied:
"Well if there is no deal anymore obviously there is no restrictions in our nuclear program anymore," adding "Iran would still be a member of NPT (non-proliferation treaty) still committed to its obligations and still, you know, obliged not to go for nuclear weapons, this is our policy. And in that sense there is no sense of clause in the JCPOA, it's like actually perception that Americans are spreading on others but this is absolutely wrong. Iran's commitment not to ever seek or acquire or produce nuclear weapons is permanent."
"I don't think to add a new crisis over the non, over the proliferation of nuclear weapons would be beneficial for anybody, in the region and outside the region."