We will respond proportionately to Europe’s breaching of the JCPOA.
Over a year has passed since the U.S. breached and withdrew from the JCPOA. After the government of the United States of America left the nuclear deal, on its own, the Islamic Republic of Iran gave Europe a loose deadline to perform its part of the commitments with regard to the JCPOA.
Now after the sixty-day ultimatum that the Islamic Republic had set for Europe, based on the JCPOA, to compensate for commitments toward the JCPOA, the website of KHAMENEI.IR reviews potential responses by the Islamic Republic in the face of the breaching of the JCPOA by other signatories, by conducting an interview with Dr. Ali-Akbar Velayati, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution’s advisor in international affairs.
After the government of the United States withdrew from the JCPOA, the Islamic Republic of Iran gave Europe a loose deadline, which was referred to as strategic patience by the President to see how Europe would perform its commitments toward the JCPOA, and toward the economic interests of the Islamic Republic. Till now, the responsibilities were not properly fulfilled. How do you analyze Europe’s JCPOA commitments with respect to INSTEX? How is it related to what the Europeans must actually perform?
In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful
In short, so far, the Islamic Republic of Iran has performed all its commitments based on the JCPOA; whereas, the other signatories have not taken any measures, and have even moved in the opposite direction. This has been unprecedented before the JCPOA; it is as if they found the opportunity to abuse the JCPOA, and add extra demands to it.
For example, first the Americans and later the Europeans claimed—of course, Europeans less than Americans—and insist on an unlawful and illegitimate demand: that for defending ourselves we wait to see what the Europeans order; that we keep our defense system in line with their order. Or, for example, for our presence in the region and cooperation with neighboring countries and those of the region, they decide on what we should do. They believe and propagate a lot that Iran should not have a serious presence in the region. These are illegal, illegitimate and unacceptable demands. So, if we want to sum up, our relationship with the p5+1, of course, if we exclude Russia and China, the rest have not only breached their commitments, but they have also increased their expectations to a new level. It seems to them that this is the first step that Iran has taken and now Iran needs to take further steps! An absolutely bullying behavior.
Why is the financial mechanism that the Europeans are talking about not enough to meet their JCPOA commitments?
Indeed, the JCPOA was a commitment agreed by the Islamic Republic of Iran on the one hand, and five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany on the other hand, demanding that we pursue our nuclear work in a limited manner and for a certain period of time, and that we reduce the level of our nuclear achievements to less than before, to the amount we agreed on. That is, the amount of our enriched uranium storage will not exceed 300 kilograms, and the amount of heavy water plutonium in Arak, as in the past, will not be over the agreed amount, and of course it was to be applied for a limited time. Therefore, Iran's commitment was to temporarily limit the peaceful nuclear activities for a specified period and the other party had pledged to provide the necessary facilities for our regular commercial and monetary transactions and to remove previous restrictions, since naturally any independent country in the world has the right to trade with other countries, and to exchange money. But they imposed constraints on us illegitimately, in terms of international law, and with the provocation and guidance of the United States. They promised and wrote to guarantee that they would remove barriers to trade, economic and monetary activity—which they did not fulfill. Instead, the situation also became aggravated compared to the past. So we have claims about what they should have done, but failed to do. Rather, they also added a few other unfavorable demands to it until it became unacceptable.
Now, in this situation when we see the European party breaches the commitments, and the U.S. has completely withdrawn from the JCPOA, what, in your opinion, will be the Islamic Republic's appropriate response after the expiry of the deadline given to the Europeans?
Based on the consensus that exists among different entities within the Islamic Republic of Iran: both the parliament and the government—whether directly or indirectly involved— and anyone who has a responsibility in the Islamic Republic, or has some kind of connection with this task, everyone agrees on what was done and Dr. Rouhani's speech on Wednesday explicitly affirmed it. This is the result of the consensus of all the members of the government, and without the shadow of a doubt, what has been said will be done. That is, the first step has been taken regarding the amount of enriched uranium, and has gone over 300 kilograms.
The second step will start on July 7, 2019, and uranium enrichment will go beyond the 3.67 (three point sixty seven) percentages and will be as high as we need for our peaceful activities. For example, in order for us to be able to use uranium in the Bushehr reactor, its concentration should be about 5%, and this is quite a peaceful goal, so that we produce electricity from a jointly Iranian-Russian made reactor. Also, for other ordinary, industrial, and energy requirements of the country that is absolutely vital to us. Therefore, we will do this, God willing, to the extent that we deem proper and we need for our peaceful program.
At present, the Islamic Republic of Iran's countermeasures have been within the framework of the JCPOA. Is it possible that in the meanwhile a strategy of leaving the JCPOA be considered?
Certainly, we will not do anything first unless the other party does that. So far, the other parties have breached the JCPOA little by little; the Americans directly and the Europeans indirectly, so as long as they take further steps in violating the JCPOA, we will react in respectively. That is, if they cut on their obligations by the JCPOA, we will also cut fulfilling on our obligations. Right in the opposite direction. But if they return to fulfilling the commitments they have accepted, we will also return. Otherwise, things will go on and there will be a series of rational and gradual acts of engagement.
You also mentioned China and Russia. The debate on the Chinese purchasing our oil is recurrent these days in the media. In your opinion, where do these two countries stand in the JCPOA and how do they act upon their obligations? How do we interact with these two countries?
Of course, the positions of Russia and China are different from the other four members of the JCPOA; that is, they have not imposed sanctions on us, and they have done any kind of cooperation agreed between the two parties. China has continued and continues to buy oil from us, the amount of which, of course, depends on the agreement between the Chinese authorities and the Ministry of Oil: so far they have been friendly. Even when the first step was taken by the Islamic Republic of Iran in raising the ceiling for enriched uranium production, the Russian authorities publicly and in various ways supported the action by the Islamic Republic of Iran, condemning the United States and the West for not fulfilling this agreement. They say the Western officials have actually disrupted the treaty and have not taken a step towards fulfilling their obligations. Therefore, the Islamic Republic of Iran has the right to do so. Thus, the position of China and Russia, regardless of some interim issues, is in general based on a friendly and expanding relationship, both at bilateral and regional as well as international levels.
You mentioned that the actions undertaken by the Islamic Republic in response to the Europeans are agreed upon by all senior officials of the country. Despite different orientations and views in our foreign policy, which is natural, it seems that today, all political trends in the Islamic Republic have converged towards the strategy of resistance. Why is that?
The Leader of the Revolution has always since the beginning followed his strategic view of continuing and reinforcing resistance. Of course there was a view that negotiations should be carried out. So, the Leader of the Revolution said several times that although he does not trust the Americans at all, and nothing will result from negotiating with the Americans, however, within the outlined strategies steps were taken [to negotiate]; and of course the Americans never stopped showing their animosity against the Iranian nation. Several times, U.S. defense ministers, their presidents, and even their current President, have regarded the Iranian nation as a terrorist nation. This means that not only they are against the Islamic Republic of Iran, they are also certainly against the Iranian nation. The Iranian government has emerged from among these people and it is carried on the nation’s shoulders. So, their fabrications and false claims that the people want something, yet the government does something else are proven wrong. As a result, they have officially and repeatedly claimed that Iranians are a terrorist nation.
The current convergence is a result of everyone arriving at the same conclusion, that, what the U.S., its acolytes in Europe, and its cohorts in the region have in common is their enmity against the Islamic Republic. Of course Iran does not care. But the reality of the Islamic Revolution and the continuation of the Islamic Republic of Iran for 40 years, and its influence in the region and among Muslim countries like Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan is without a doubt, unbearable and disturbing for them. The vigilant people of the Muslim world are clearly aware of the state of affairs. They see that those nations whose governments are dependent and under control, adopting an extremely optimistic outlook on the West, have gained nothing.
There was a time when we had people like Gamal Abdel Nasser, General Ahmed Sukarno in Indonesia, and famous people who fought and opposed Western domination, like Boumédiène in Algeria, and the late Hafiz Assad in Syria. These men were once standing against the expansionism and colonialism of the West, and as long as they resisted they won. For example, for the first time in the history of South East Asia, Indonesia which has a surface of more than 5,000,000 square kilometers spread over 17000 islands was united to form a single country, as a result of the struggles of the people of Indonesia and under the auspices of Islam. Later, when governments changed, and the former resistant government was replaced by a compliant one, the people of those countries witnessed their loss.
Today, you see that the influence and resistance of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the strengthening of the Resistance movement against the Zionists have gradually been established in the Islamic world. After five years of attack by Saudi Arabia and its allies, Yemenis are more powerful than the day before any invasion by Saudi Arabia. They have been able to achieve self-sufficiency in defensive weapons. In the same way, an international war on Syria was conducted with the participation of about 80 countries, but the Syrian people were able to defeat and overcome them. Today, Syria has a fundamental difference with the past: Syria has proved strong in the Resistance scene. This resistance chain, which begins from Tehran and stretches to Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, Palestine and Gaza, reaching Yemen, is the continuation of the path of resistance with the Islamic Republic of Iran as the vanguard throughout the region. This pivot of resistance today is stronger than ever, and God willing will be strengthened further and this chain will not be disconnected. So today, if anyone intends to invade Iran, they know that the whole region will react and defend.