First Published: 2018-02-22

Iran warns it will leave nuke deal if banks cannot do business
Nuclear deal saw sanctions lifted in return for commitment not to pursue nuclear bomb, but Iran claims it is not reaping rewards despite its compliance.
Middle East Online

Abbas Araghchi

TEHRAN - Iran's top nuclear negotiator for its 2015 deal with international powers warned on Thursday that the agreement was under threat unless foreign businesses and banks were able to trade freely in the country.

Deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi told London's Chatham House that US President Donald Trump's hostility towards the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was creating a "destructive atmosphere" that meant businesses were afraid of dealing with Iran.

"As far as Iran is concerned, JCPOA is not a successful story," he said.

"Iran is not benefiting from sanction lifting in full."

Under the JCPOA, sanctions were lifted in return for a commitment not to pursue a nuclear bomb, but Iran claims it is not reaping the rewards despite complying with the deal.

The JCPOA was struck between Iran and Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US, then led by Barack Obama.

But Trump called it the "worst deal ever" and has demanded that European partners "fix the terrible flaws" or he would re-impose sanctions, although he has so far issued "waivers" upholding the deal.

"It is like poison for the business community," said Araghchi.

"I don't think the deal can survive in this way. Even if the waivers are extended... if companies and banks are not working with Iran, we cannot remain in a deal that there is no benefit for us."

He accused Trump's administration of violating JCPOA "on a daily basis almost."

"All these statements by President Trump are a violation of the deal, of the letter and the text of the deal.

"We have now a destructive atmosphere."

Tehran would not accept any changes to the deal, including attempts to tie it to Iran's ballistic missile programme, he said.

Much of the criticism of the deal revolves around its so-called "sunset" clauses, which detail when the various restrictions imposed on Iran's nuclear programme expire.

Araghchi denied that Iran would be able to build nuclear weapons after these provisions expire in 10-15 years time and insisted that Iran would not consider making the restrictions permanent.

"Iran's commitment in the JCPOA not to go for nuclear weapons is permanent," he said.

"To change these provisions and make these clauses permanent means killing of the deal.

"We accepted 10-15 years of restrictions for confidence building, it doesn't mean we have to build confidence forever, it's ridiculous."

If the deal did collapse, he warned the world would face "another nuclear crisis that would be very difficult to be resolved."


Israel confirms it hit suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007

Syrian rebels reach evacuation deal in Eastern Ghouta town

Abbas calls US ambassador to Israel 'son of a dog'

UN says Turkey security measures 'curtail human rights'

'Saudization' taking its toll on salesmen

Ahed Tamimi reaches plea deal for eight months in jail

UN launching final push to salvage Libya political agreement

Conditions for displaced from Syria's Ghouta 'tragic': UN

Sisi urges Egyptians to vote, denies excluding rivals

Rights Watch says Libya not ready for elections

Saudis revamp school curriculum to combat Muslim Brotherhood

American mother trapped in Syria’s Ghouta calls out Trump

Syria workers say French firm abandoned them to jihadists

Grim Nowruz for Kurds fleeing Afrin

Sarkozy back in custody for second day of questioning

Netanyahu says African migrants threaten Jewish majority

US Senate votes on involvement in Yemen war as Saudi prince visits

What a ‘limited strike’ against Syria’s Assad might mean

Natural gas in eastern Mediterranean fuels increasing tensions

Erdogan tells US to stop ‘deceiving’, start helping on Syria

IS controls Damascus district in surprise attack

French ex-president held over Libya financing allegations

NGO says Israeli army violating Palestinian minors’ rights

Human rights chief slams Security Council for inaction on Syria

US warns Turkey over civilians caught in Syria assault

Saudi crown prince keen to cement ties with US

Erdogan vows to expand Syria op to other Kurdish-held areas

Kurdish envoy accuses foreign powers of ignoring Turkish war crimes

Morocco authorities vow to close Jerada's abandoned mines

Israeli soldier sees manslaughter sentence slashed

Turkey insists no plans to remain in Afrin

Cairo voters show unwavering support for native son Sisi

Forum in Jordan explores new teaching techniques

Gaza Strip woes receive renewed attention but no fix is expected

Kurds, Syrian opposition condemn Afrin looting

36 jihadists killed in Egypt’s Sinai

Israel arrests French consulate worker for gun smuggling

Pro-Turkish forces loot Afrin

Israel prepares to demolish Jerusalem attacker's home

Saudi crown prince says his country to seek nuclear bomb if Iran does

Arab women artists in diaspora focus on identity and loss

Tunisia’s Central Bank targets inflation but may hurt growth prospects

Libya’s health system reflects a larger humanitarian crisis

Israel blasts Gaza underground tunnel

Abu Dhabi awards France's Total stakes in oil concessions