TEHRAN/DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – If Iran’s nuclear file is sent to the United Nations Security Council, then Iran will withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Monday, according to the official IRNA news agency.
“If the Europeans continue their improper behavior or send Iran’s file to the Security Council, we will withdraw from the NPT,” IRNA quoted Zarif as saying.
Iran is planning “one last step” in its gradual draw-down from complying with the nuclear deal, raising the possibility that it’s close to announcing a complete withdrawal from the embattled international accord.
In addition to the five-stage reduction of its commitment that Iran has already announced, it’s now working on the final measure that will have “more effective consequences,” Abbas Mousavi, Foreign Ministry spokesman, told a news conference in Tehran on Monday.
Iran has been gradually reducing its compliance with the 2015 accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, since U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned it and began reimposing — and then increasing — sanctions on the country’s economy.
Earlier this month, Iran announced it’s no longer observing limits on uranium enrichment or research and development activities, but insisted it was still working within the parameters of the deal and would continue cooperating with United Nations nuclear inspectors.
President Hassan Rouhani last week said all the steps could still be reversed as soon as Europe was able to commit to the agreement and take concrete steps allowing Iran to sell oil.
In a move that has worsened tensions with Tehran, the U.K., France and Germany said last week they would trigger the deal’s dispute resolution mechanism, which could eventually mean the matter being referred to the U.N. Security Council. Mousavi said the move “lacks legal value” and that an “empty-handed” EU is unlikely to risk a major escalation in its standoff with Iran by involving the U.N.’s top decision-making group.
Days before European nations turned up pressure on the Islamic Republic, the U.S. and Iran came to the brink of war after Trump ordered the killing of top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. As Iranian forces launched retaliatory attacks on U.S. facilities in the Middle East, they accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner over Tehran, triggering protests against the regime.
Britain has also infuriated Iran’s government by proposing that the current accord be replaced with a “Trump deal.” Mousavi said that while Iran remains open to talks with the EU on the future of the agreement, the Islamic Republic won’t agree to any proposals from either the bloc or the U.S. for an alternative to the existing deal.
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