"All throughout the past two decades Iran has always been loyal to the terms of its agreements with the EU and the US, even in the words of the Western experts and officials, while the Americans and Europeans have never complied with their undertakings since Iran has always been after a conflict resolution, but the opposite side has only been after a containment of Iran's power, specially since President Barack Obama took office when the containment strategy was officially put into practice," Seyed Mostafa Khoshcheshm told FNA on Tuesday.
"Despite all the media hype and propaganda, Donald Trump also displayed very well that he also only practiced the same formula that works through threats and sanctions, though he played it very nively. And now Biden, despite all the media show off during his presidential campaign is adamant to removing the sanctions to display that he also continues to be loyal to the same old containment strategy," he continued.
“As regards the step to be taken by Iran on the February 21 that entails an end to the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol, mention should be made that the move would not mean an end to the IAEA inspection of Iran's nuclear program as IAEA inspectors will continue operations and visits under Iran's NPT obligations, which means that the IAEA missions and inspections would narrow down as Iran accepted to grant such a vast access to the UN nuclear watchdog agency under the nuclear deal and in return for specific merits that have, unfortunately, not been given to Iran 6 years into the deal, including the termination of the sanctions,” Khoshcheshm said.
“As has been acknowledged globally, Iran has fulfilled all its undertakings in the framework of the nuclear deal, while the opposite party has defied the deal and refrained from making any concession," he said, and explained, "Even after the US withdrawal from the JCPOA, Iran continued full compliance for 14 months, and when it eventually came to draw a balance between its gives and takes, it reduced its R&D and enrichment undertakings, but it still continues compliance with the most vital part of its obligations that pertain to inspections under the voluntary implemention of the Additional Protocol. Compliance with this part of the committments could be deemed even as more vital than its modified undertakings since the information given to the IAEA under this harsh regime of inspections is highly valuable.”
He further pointed out that based on the official statements of former Iranian nuclear officials, similar information provided to the IAEA leaked and eventually ended up in the assassination of top Iranian nuclear scientists.
Khoshcheshm underlined that Iran took these steps to build trust and transparency, “but on the opposite end of this bargain, firstly, the agency is never satisfied and always raises excessive demands for inspection of other sites, and secondly, Iran took up to go under such a harsh regime of inspections under the nuclear deal just in return for a removal of the sanctions, which never happened".
“We have reached a well-established balance, we implement our undertakings - more or less - and they do not lift the sanctions, so they have no reason to change this trend unless you change your strategy and the Islamic Republic has adopted active resistance to this end, that is to say Tehran takes these modification steps to change this balance and impose costs on the other side in a bid to change the other side's approach, and the halt of Iran's unilateral compliance with the nuclear deal is the minimum price that the other side should pay for its non-compliance,” he added.
“Therefore, if they are supposed to continue the same trend as they did 7 years ago, we should also return the capabilities that we had back then in early 2013,” the senior analyst said.
“Another important issue is the timing of these steps; if we had done this move last year or up until May when the one-and-a-half to two-year-long maximum efficiency period of the sanctions ended, some might have thought that the impact of sanctions had increased because of this measure. However, since May, the maximum pressure of the sanctions has been on decline and according to what the Western media reports, Iran has always been increasing its oil and petrol exports to the point that in November, before the US election, Iran was exporting 1.5 million barrels of oil, gasoline and products per day, and based on the Iranian oil minister's recent announcement Iran has set a new record in exporting oil products in the last 8 months. So, although there is no denial that this loss of efficiency for the sanctions has a limit and would stop somewhere, the impact of the sanctions is on decline now,” Khoshcheshm said.
He added as there is no more economic sectors or actors to go under the US sanctions, the US seems to be empty-handed to increase the sanctions pressure on Tehran, and this makes the present period a proper time for Iran to further reduce its undertakings under the nuclear deal.
"Also, the Iranian political parties and people are now convinced that Biden is no different from Trump when it comes to the US strategy towards Iran, and therefore, people, political parties and factions now stand united to powerfully go for the next step of modifications," the analyst continued.
Khoshcheshm noted that by taking these steps Iran is moving towards zeroing implementation of its nuclear deal undertakings but has not left the agreement, adding that now time is on Iran’s side to pressure the other side to fulfill its undertakings and change approach.
He noted that the stop of the voluntary implementation of the additional protocol to the NPT and other reductions in undertakings done by Iran so far are all happening under paragraph 26 of the nuclear deal which entitles Iran to modify part or all its undertakings in return for the US and EU defiance of their committments, reiterating that the February 21 move does not mean a discard of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
“Our measure does not mean that we have left the nuclear deal. This happens when you go for the dispute settlement mechanism envisioned in paragraphs 36 and 37 of the nuclear deal that would end the deal after a UN Security Council voting, or make an official declaration on withdrawing from the nuclear deal similar to the US move, though this latter choice is not a formal and legal exit from the deal. So we are still inside the nuclear deal but without making free concessions to the other side,” he concluded.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that his country will halt the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) next week in case other parties continue to defy their nuclear deal undertakings.
“The Iranian government is required to suspend the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol next week, according to the parliament approval, if the obligations of the other parties have not been fulfilled by that day. This move does not take time and can be implemented in a day,” Khatibzadeh told reporters in a press conference in Tehran on Monday.
“Accordingly, inspections beyond the safeguards agreements will be stopped, and this means the supervisions that Iran has accepted within the framework of the Additional Protocol and it does not mean stopping all supervisions. Iran will keep fulfilling some of the inspections, but the Additional Protocol will definitely be stopped,” he added.
Yet, Khatibzadeh underlined that Iran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will continue and will inform the IAEA of its moves in a letter, reiterating that all the actions done by Iran are easily reversible, provided that the other parties return to their obligations.
“Unfortunately, the US continues to follow the wrong path of the previous administration, and what is happening today is no different from what was underway before January 20, and the maximum pressure and crime against the Iranian people and disregard for international laws continues today too,” he added.