Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends a news conference at the Foreign Ministry, in Caracas, Venezuela, on Nov. 5, 2020.

Matias Delacroix/The Associated Press

Iran will fully comply with a 2015 deal aimed at preventing it from developing nuclear weapons if both the United States and Europe honour their original commitments, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday.

U.S. President Donald Trump quit the pact in 2018, saying it did not do enough to curb Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs or its militant influence in the Middle East.

However, president-elect Joe Biden has said he will rejoin it if Tehran first resumes strict compliance. He has also said he would work with allies “to strengthen and extend it.”

Story continues below advertisement

Addressing a Rome conference via video-link, Mr. Zarif said the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) could not be renegotiated but it could be resurrected.

“The United States has commitments. It is not in a position to set conditions,” he said.

Iran’s Guardian Council watchdog body approved a law on Wednesday that obliges the government to halt UN inspections of its nuclear sites and step up uranium enrichment beyond the limit set under the 2015 deal if sanctions are not eased within two months.

Mr. Zarif said that although the government did not like the law, it would nonetheless implement it.

“But it is not irreversible,” he said. “The Europeans and USA can come back into compliance with the JCPOA and not only this law will not be implemented, but in fact the actions we have taken ... will be rescinded. We will go back to full compliance.”

Mr. Zarif said economic sanctions imposed by the Trump administration had cost Iranians US$250-billion and made it impossible to buy medicines and vaccines needed to combat the coronavirus, which has taken a particularly heavy toll on his country.

“It is a crime against humanity,” he said, adding that the U.S. measures were preventing European companies from doing business in Iran, dashing hopes of a massive upswing in trade after the 2015 deal was signed.

Story continues below advertisement

“Europeans say they are in full compliance [with the deal] but they simply are not. ... We don’t see any European companies in Iran, we do not see any European country buying oil from Iran, we do not see any European banks send us our money,” Mr. Zarif said.

The Foreign Minister said he hoped that neighbouring Arab states, some of which have recently forged ties with Iran’s arch-enemy Israel, would seek dialogue with Tehran once Mr. Trump left office.

“We are their neighbours. We will be in this region together. I do not believe that they want to allow Israel to bring the fight to Iran,” Mr. Zarif said.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies