Zarif: Iran to leave NPT in case of EU referral to Security Council

Tehran, Jan 20, IRNA – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday that Iran will leave the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if Europeans insist on their unjustifiable behavior or refer the nuclear issue to the UN Security Council.

Zarif said that Iran is following up the late decision by European states to trigger the Dispute Resolution Mechanism in the context of the JCPOA, adding that Tehran officially started the discussion on the mechanism on May 8, 2018 when the US withdrew from the deal.

He underlined that Iran sent three letters dated May 10, August 26 and November 2018 to the then EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, announcing in the latter that Iran had officially triggered and ended the dispute resolution mechanism and thus would begin reducing its commitments to the JCPOA.

However, Iran gave a seven-month opportunity to the European Union before it began reducing its commitments in May 8, 2019 which had operational effects two months later, according to Zarif.

Iran’s top diplomat said that the country’s five steps in compliance reduction would have no similar follow-ups, but Europeans’ measure to refer the case to the United Nations Security Council may be followed by Tehran’s decision to leave NPT as stated in President Hassan Rouhani’s May 2018 letter to other parties to the deal.

He stressed that all the steps are reversible if the European parties to the JCPOA restore their obligations under the deal.

Zarif also touched upon the decision by Asian Football Confederation to strip Iranian football teams of their right to host their own matches, saying that he had a lengthy meeting with the concerned Iranian officials to review the issue.

“Iran is the most secure country in the region and I’m prepared for some measure in this area because it is clear that the non-sports game has begun. We hope that the issue is addressed in the normal way in sports sphere,” Zarif said.

Arguing that flights over Iran are not safe, the AFC announced in a letter on Thursday that the Iranian teams are not allowed to host their own matches in the AFC Champions League and that the games should be held in a third country.

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