Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi (Photo by AFP)
The Iranian nuclear chief says the nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers could face tough days under the next US administration, which may seek to throw a wrench in the agreement’s implementation process.
Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), was speaking at the European Council on Foreign Relations in London on Thursday.
“Regarding US presidential elections, we believe the JCPOA may have more difficult days ahead, and I do not rule out the possibility that the new US president may put its implementation at risk,” added Salehi, using an acronym for the nuclear deal called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Salehi further said commitment to the terms of the deal “is not a personal issue and the next US president should act based on international rules.”
The AEOI head added that the JCPOA has the endorsement of the UN Security Council, emphasizing that “it would be costly if the White House takes a different path” in the process of implementing the accord.
In that scenario, Tehran would “take calculated measures, and we would not give an emotional response. We are patient,” Salehi added.
The nuclear deal was signed last July between Iran and the P5+1 states – Russia, China France, Britain, the US and Germany. Days later, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2231 endorsing the JCPOA.
The landmark agreement is legally binding on the country’s next head of state. However, analysts have cast doubt on the sustainability of the agreement under US President Barack Obama’s successor, speculating that a re-evaluation of the nuclear deal is possible.
Salehi further emphasized Iran’s commitment to the JCPOA, saying the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has, since January, released two reports to confirm that Iran is honoring its obligations under the accord. The UN nuclear agency is tasked with monitoring the deal’s implementation.
The Iranian official called on both sides of the deal to respect the JCPOA and said Tehran’s six partners must not escape their commitments, especially when it comes to the removal of anti-Iran sanctions.
The JCPOA came into force in January, removing nuclear-relations sanctions against Iran in exchange for Tehran putting certain restrictions on its nuclear activities.
In the same month, the European Union and the US formally announced the lifting of economic embargoes against Iran after the IAEA verified Tehran’s compliance with the terms of the nuclear deal.
However, the Islamic Republic complains that it still does not have access to global financial markets. Many international banks still shy away from financing trade deals and processing transactions for fear of US penalties.