JCPOA Built on Mutual Distrust

JCPOA Built on Mutual Distrust

by Stephen Lendman ( – Home – Stephen Lendman)

Iran has 40 years of reasons to mistrust the West, especially hegemonic USA — its aggression against sovereign states threatening no one well documented. 

Its bipartisan hardliners are hell-bent for toppling Iran’s government, wanting the country returned to US client state status, along with gaining control over its vast oil and gas reserves, and eliminating Israeli main regional rival.

The Trump regime’s May 2018 JCPOA pullout had nothing to do with an Iranian nuclear threat that doesn’t exist.

It had everything to do with wanting to kill the deal, encourage Iran to abandon adherence to its provisions, falsely claim it’s pursuing nukes, then use the Big Lie and other false claims as pretexts for war on the country.

That’s where Trump regime hardliners Bolton, Pompeo, and their henchmen are heading, manipulating Trump with Big Lies about Iran to go along with preemptively attacking the country on the fabricated pretense of protecting US national security.

The Islamic Republic never threatened the national security of any country and doesn’t now.

Interviewed by the NYT via email, a broadsheet militantly hostile toward Iran, a US imperial press agent, published in its July 4 edition, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, responded to questions candidly — his forthrightness polar opposite how so-called Western diplomats operate.

Note: The Times said his remarks were slightly edited “for length and clarity,” making it unclear if anything important may have been left out.

Zarif headed Iran’s JCPOA negotiating team. He’s key to its diplomatic outreach to other countries. He represents what diplomacy the way it should be is all about, Russia’s Sergey Lavrov the same in his dealings with other countries.

Zarif explained that the JCPOA was built on “mutual distrust,” not the other way around, why it’s so long and detailed, he added.

The agreement can only work if adhered to by its signatories, the world community honoring its provisions as well. Security Council JCPOA adoption made them binding international law.

Iran remains in compliance with the deal. By illegally pulling out, the Trump regime breached it. So did Britain, France, Germany, and the EU by failing to fulfill their obligations, supporting the US withdrawal instead opposing it, failing to follow through on promises made.

Zarif stressed that the JCPOA is “the best POSSIBLE agreement on the nuclear issue. None of the participants were happy with all elements of the deal, but it addressed the major concerns of all,” adding: 

“It was negotiated by all with open eyes about what was possible and what was not. We did not neglect anything.” 

“We accepted the reality that we could not resolve all our differences in this deal and we agreed to leave them out.”

“Paragraph 36 of JCPOA is a clear example that we negotiated this deal with the full understanding that we could not trust the commitment of the West.” 

“We are exercising that option within the deal right now, which can indeed prevent the deal from total collapse, which will be detrimental to the interest of all, including the United States.”

Article 36 states that if actions by JCPOA signatories “constitute significant non- performance, then (Iran) could treat the unresolved issue as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part and/or notify the UN Security Council that it believes the issue constitutes significant non-performance.”

Article 26 states that if the US imposes new nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, it will constitute “grounds (for its authorities) to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part” — its legal right under the deal.

Because the JCPOA is binding international law, all world community nations are bound to observe it. 

Breaching it constitutes a criminal act. The US and its Western signatory partners stand guilty as charged, Russia and China complying with their obligations.

Increased uranium enrichment beyond the amount and level stipulated by the JCPOA is Iran’s legal right under Articles 26 and 36, as well as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The US, Israel, and other nations breached the NPT. It commits nuclear powers to work toward nuclear disarmament.

Obama approved $1 trillion to upgrade to America’s nuclear arsenal over the next 30 years.

Trump earlier tweeted: “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”

Separately, he said “let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”

Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) includes spending  around $1.5 trillion over the next 30 years to upgrade America’s nuclear arsenal, falsely claiming:

“(G)lobal threat conditions have worsened markedly since (since Obama’s 2010 NPR), including increasingly explicit nuclear threats from potential adversaries” — falsely suggesting North Korea and the Islamic Republic. 

Both nations are at peace with their neighbors, threatening none. Throughout their history, they never attacked another country.

Washington claiming Iran has “the technological capability and much of the capacity necessary to develop a nuclear weapon within one year” ignores its abhorrence of these weapons — and silence about nuclear armed and dangerous Israel and the US, aggressor nations disdaining peace.

Asked by the Times if the JCPOA can be saved, Zarif stressed that Iran is “committed to the deal as long as the remaining participants (EU, France, Germany, UK, Russia and China) observe” it — clearly not so because of Europe’s breach, no evidence suggesting a change of policy.

“(A) multilateral agreement cannot be implemented unilaterally,” Zarif stressed.

Asked how US sanctions would affect him personally, he said he has no foreign assets.

“The only impact — and possibly the sole objective — of a possible designation would be to limit my ability to communicate,” he explained, adding: 

“And I doubt that would serve anyone. Certainly, it would limit the possibility of informed decision making in Washington.”

Iran said invoking its JCPOA rights under Articles 26 and 36 aim to get European nations to honor their commitments under the deal.

It hasn’t worked so far, and faint hope alone remains that Europe may change its policies. No evidence suggests it.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at


My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”


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