We don't seek nuclear weapons, claims Iranian official

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister insists his country does not seek nuclear weapons and that commitment is permanent.

Elad Benari ,

Abbas Araqchi
Abbas Araqchi

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said on Thursday that his country does not seek nuclear weapons, adding that commitment is permanent, Reuters reported.

Araqchi further claimed there is no so-called “sunset clause” in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal as the United States says.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly criticized the Iran deal negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama, recently decided to extend a waiver on nuclear sanctions that were imposed on Iran.

However, he said it would be the last time he will do so and ordered European allies and Congress to work with him to fix “the disastrous flaws” in the 2015 deal or Washington would withdraw.

Trump sees three defects in the deal: its failure to address Iran’s ballistic missile program; the terms under which international inspectors can visit suspect Iranian nuclear sites; and “sunset” clauses under which limits on the Iranian nuclear program start to expire after 10 years. He wants all three strengthened if the United States is to stay in the deal.

“There is no sunset clause in the JCPOA,” Araqchi argued on Thursday, according to Reuters.

“Although the U.S. administration and Trump are talking about sunset clause and that JCPOA is just for 10 years, that is not true. Iran’s commitment in the JCPOA not to go for the nuclear weapon is permanent,” he added. JCPOA stands for Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which is the official name of the nuclear deal signed in 2015 by Iran and six world powers.

Araqchi also warned that Iran will withdraw from the deal altogether if there is no economic benefit and major banks continue to shun the Islamic Republic.

Even if Trump relents and issues fresh “waivers” to continue suspending the sanctions imposed on his country, the existing situation is unacceptable for Iran, he stressed.

“The deal would not survive this way even if the ultimatum is passed and waivers are extended,” said Araqchi, according to Reuters.

“If the same policy of confusion and uncertainties about the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) continues, if companies and banks are not working with Iran, we cannot remain in a deal that has no benefit for us. That’s a fact,” he added.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has stressed that his country will not renegotiate the 2015 nuclear deal.