December 20, 2015 Special Dispatch No. 6240

At Last Moment, Iran Refuses To Fulfill Its Obligations Under JCPOA, Demands That U.S. Lift Sanctions First, In Complete Contradiction To The Agreement

December 20, 2015
Iran | Special Dispatch No. 6240

At the last moment, Iran is refusing to fulfill its obligations under the JCPOA. According to the agreement, it is now Iran's turn to meet specific obligations, and once the IAEA confirms it has done so, the West will take measures to ease or suspend some of the sanctions.[1] However, Iran is now demanding to make an essential change to the agreement so that the U.S. first acts to lift the sanctions and only then will Iran meet its obligations. In a December 18, 2015 interview with The New Yorker, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that some political issues still need to be resolved, hinting at the sanctions, before Iran fulfills its commitments. He also said that Iran is "not dismantling anything, only uninstalling some centrifuges and reconstructing the Arak reactor."

The following are excerpts from the interview:[2]

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (Image:

"Where does the Iran nuclear deal stand? What is your timetable to complete steps pledged in dismantling part of the program?

Zarif: We're not dismantling anything. We are uninstalling some centrifuges and reconstructing the Arak reactor, modernizing it. . . .[3] The remaining activities that we need undertake will not take more than several days, less than two weeks.

"Is there a projected day for implementation?

Zarif: Well, we need to resolve still some political issues. . . . There are obligations on the other side that we have to make sure are implemented before we start the final stage of our implementation. . . . So once these are finalized, the practical measures that need to be implemented on our side will start. So I'm not saying two weeks from today. I'm saying two weeks from the time we settle all the difficulties.

"What does Iran see as the challenges to implementation that remain?

Zarif: I think the most important challenge that remains is this mentality in Washington that sanctions have been an asset, and some people want to find even an excuse to keep them or an excuse to reintroduce them. I don't know whether they've looked at the record of how sanctions actually produce exactly the opposite of what they wanted to produce."

"About three dozen senators have written a letter to the President and called on him not to lift sanctions.

Zarif: They didn't want the President to accept the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to begin with. There are more than three dozen members of our parliament who do not want us to implement J.C.P.O.A. So I think that we're even."




[1] See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Report No. 1213, Will The West Ease The Sanctions Even Though Iran Is Not Meeting Its JCPOA Obligations?, December 17, 2015.

[2], December 18, 2015.

[3] All ellipsis marks are in the original interview.

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