Hello, my name is Javad Zarif, and I am the Iranian foreign minister.
For the first two years in my post, I spent much of my time negotiating with my counterparts from the EU, Russia, China, Germany, France, UK, and the U.S.
We reached a comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear program in 2015, called JCPOA or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
In the deal, my country agreed to take certain concrete steps to assuage the concerns of the US, primarily.
The U.S. in turn committed to remove sanctions and to cease impeding business with Iran.
The deal was not a treaty to require signature or ratification by any side. But it became binding on all as it was unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council.
On 11 occasions since, the UN nuclear watchdog has confirmed that Iran has implemented all its obligations.
In contrast, the U.S. has consistently violated the agreement, especially by bullying others from doing business with Iran.
In the last year or so, we’ve been told that President Trump is unhappy with the deal.
And it now appears that the response from some Europeans has been to offer the US more concessions. From our pocket.
This appeasement entails promises of a “new deal” that would include matters we all decided to exclude at the outset of our negotiations, including my country’s defensive capabilities and regional influence.
Please understand: on both issues, it is Iran – not the West – that has serious grievances and much to demand.
We have not attacked anyone in centuries. But we have been invaded. Most recently, by Saddam Hussein, who was then backed by the US and its regional allies.
The West even actively prevented us from buying rudimentary means of defense, even as Saddam showered both Iranian civilians and soldiers with chemical weapons.
Despite that haunting experience, we still spend a fraction of countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE on defense. And our missiles have a shorter range than those of Saudi Arabia.
And unlike US allies in the region who have brainwashed, financed and armed Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIS, we have been pivotal in defeating these extremist thugs.
Let me make it absolutely clear once and for all: we will neither outsource our security nor will we renegotiate or add on to a deal we have already implemented in good faith.
To put it in real estate terms: when you buy a house and move your family in, or demolish it to build a skyscraper, you cannot come back two years later and try to renegotiate the price.
In the coming days, the US will have to decide whether to finally abide by its obligations.
Iran stands firm in the face of futile attempts at bullying. But if the US continues to violate the agreement, or if it withdraws altogether, we will exercise our right to respond, in a manner of our choosing.
Bluster or threats won’t get the US a “new deal”, particularly as it is not honoring the deal it already made.
Relying on cartoonish allegations—rehashed from more than a decade ago and dealt with by the IAEA—to make a case for nixing the deal has fooled no one.
Thus, the U.S. is well-advised to finally begin honoring its commitments, or it, and only it, will have to accept responsibility for the consequences of not doing so.
Thank you for listening, and good day.