Mohammad Javad Zarif
Mohammad Javad ZarifReuters

US President Barack Obama has touted the "snap back" clause in the Iran nuclear deal, by which sanctions could feasibly be reapplied to the Islamic regime if it breaches the agreement - but according to Iran that won't happen.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who negotiated the deal for Iran, said the international sanctions regime on the nuclear program of the world's leading state sponsor of terror has collapsed in the deal and will not return, in comments reported by the semi-official Fars News Agency on Tuesday.

"The structure of the sanctions that the US had built based on the UN Security Council's resolutions was destroyed, and like the 1990s when no other country complied with the US sanctions against Iran, no one will accept the return of the sanctions (in the future)," Zarif said Monday.

Speaking at a meeting of Iran's Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Zarif also denied remarks by Western officials indicating that the sanctions can be quickly re-imposed for breaches in a "snap back."

Fars paraphrased Zarif as saying such a process would take several years, "while Tehran's return to its past nuclear activities can be done in a shorter time if the world powers don’t remain committed to their undertakings."

Iran has already admitted its past nuclear activities include nuclear detonator testing, in a nuclear program that could reach a nuclear arsenal in no time with IR-8 advanced centrifuges Iran will be able to develop further thanks to the deal.

Israel warns there is no "snap"

The Israeli Foreign Ministry on Tuesday published critical points against the deal, in which it directly addressed the "snap back" issue.

"In theory, any of the P5 (world) powers can reinstate the sanctions through the UN Security Council and no veto is permitted," read the Foreign Ministry statement.

"However, according to the agreement and repetitive statements by Iran, should the 'snap back option' be utilized, Iran will withdraw from the agreement. Hence, any of the five states that believes that the snap back option should be deployed can only do so if it is willing to bear the consequences: the dissolution of the agreement. This creates a strong deterrent effect against activating 'snap back' of the sanctions."

The "snap back" issue has long been criticized, given that the deal calls for a "dispute resolution process" if Iran breaches its commitments before any sanctions are put back into place. As noted, Western fears of ending the deal would mean sanctions are only likely to be "snapped back" for major breaches, at a point when it may be too late to stop Iran's march to the nuclear bomb.

Iran is to receive hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief in the deal, although Iran's continued GDP growth has indicated the sanctions regime wasn't strong enough.

There is currently a move in Congress to block the deal, which among other things has Iran inspect its own covert nuclear sites and frees up its development and trade in ballistic missiles.

Iran has announced the construction of two new nuclear facilities since the deal and also threatened to "annihilate" Israel last weekend - the same weekend it experienced an apocalyptic heat wave which nearly broke a heat index world record at a mind-boggling 164 degrees (73 Celsius).