0607 GMT March 22, 2018
Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi told an international conference on enhancing nuclear safety in Rome that Washington's recent "delusionary negative postures do not augur well" for keeping the deal intact, AP reported.
He said Iran didn't want to see the deal unravel but that "much more is at stake for the entire international community than the national interests of Iran."
US President Donald Trump is set to deliver a speech on Iran this week in which he is expected to decline to certify Iran's compliance in the landmark 2015 agreement, referring it to US Congress, and perhaps targeting the country's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) with new sanctions.
Salehi praised the progress that had been made since the 2015 deal, saying nonproliferation and disarmament efforts had benefited worldwide. He called it "simply too precious to be allowed to be undermined or weakened."
"The failure of the nuclear deal will undermine the political credibility and international stature of the US in this tumultuous political environment," Salehi warned.
He concluded that he hoped "common sense shall prevail."
On Monday, Salehi met with the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Rome. Yukiya Amano reassured him that political developments, particularly in the United States, will not influence the IAEA’s reporting on Iran.
“What is important to us,” Amano said in the meeting, “is objectively assessing countries’ nuclear activities and obligations toward the IAEA, which forms and will form the basis of statements and reports by the agency.”
“From that standpoint, political developments will not be affecting the agency’s assessment,” he added.
Also on Monday, the European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, praised the 2015 deal as a "win-win" solution that was working.
"We settled a milestone for nonproliferation and we prevented a dangerous devastating military escalation," she told the conference via video message, adding that the IAEA had certified Iran's compliance with the deal, including via inspections, eight times since it was signed.
She warned that with rising nuclear tensions on the Korean peninsula, "We have an interest and a responsibility and a duty to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran" and strengthening, not weakening the nonproliferation regime.
Deal to continue without US
Austria’s envoy to the United Nations said the nuclear deal will continue to stand even if the US, which is a party to the agreement, withdraws from it.
In an exclusive interview with IRNA, which was published on Tuesday, Jan Kickert denounced as “wrong and unjustifiable” a possible move by the current US administration to “decertify” Iran’s compliance with the deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Kickret said Austria believed that the Islamic Republic has lived up to its commitments under the JCPOA, adding that when one side continues to abide by an agreement, the other sides should do, too.
The IAEA has repeatedly confirmed that Iran is adhering to its obligations under the deal.
“If the US decides to impose new sanctions against Iran, this move will not only be regarded as a violation of the spirit of the JCPOA, but also a flagrant violation of the letter of this agreement,” Kickret said.
He also hoped that the US’s potential re-imposition of sanctions would not disappoint Iran and that the Islamic Republic would continue to remain in the deal. European countries and Russia and China will, he said.
“In case Iran remains a party to the deal,” the Austrian diplomat said, “European countries will do that, too, and the agreement will continue to stand.”
The European parties to the deal and Russia and China have long expressed firm support for the deal. But explicit statements that they will not go along with the US in potentially scrapping the agreement or re-imposing sanctions on Iran — such as that of Kickret’s — are coming out more recently as the US is expected shortly to refuse to certify Iranian compliance.
Nobel prize winner supports deal
The nuclear weapons disarmament campaign group that won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize has urged Trump to uphold the Iran nuclear deal to "avoid causing any more conflict."
"We really call on the US government to continue to certify and stay in this deal," Beatrice Fihn, director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), told a news conference at the UN headquarters in New York on Monday.
"This is not really what the world needs right now...We see no evidence that Iran is not complying with it," she added.
The head of the anti-nuclear campaign group also on Friday chided Trump for ramping up a nuclear standoff and said the US president has a track record of “not listening to expertise.”
Speaking in the hours after the Norwegian Nobel committee made the ICAN its 2017 laureate, Fihn said Trump “puts a spotlight” on the dangers of nuclear weapons.