Future of Nuclear Deal: What Iran Says

September 19, 2017

Iranian leaders have warned the Trump administration against withdrawing from the nuclear deal and have called on Washington to fully adhere to its commitments. President Hassan Rouhani has accused the United States of being unreliable. Iran “will not remain quiet against the United States’ continuing to wriggle out of its commitments,” he told Parliament in August.

The Trump administration is expected to announce the result of its Iran policy review in October, likely around the time that the White House must notify Congress whether Iran is complying with the deal and if the United States will continue to waive nuclear sanctions. Shortly after certifying Iran’s compliance in July, Trump hinted that he may not do the same in October. “We’ll talk about the subject in 90 days but I would be surprised if they were in compliance,” he told The Wall Street Journal. The following are excerpted remarks by Iranian officials on the status and future of the nuclear deal.


President Hassan Rouhani

President Rouhani“In the nuclear negotiations and agreement we reached issues and benefits that are not reversible. No one can turn that back, not Mr. Trump or anyone else.”

“Even if 10 other Trumps are created in the world, these are not reversible.”

“If America carries out any violations today, the whole world will condemn America. They will not condemn Iran.”

“Then they will say why did you trust America and sign an agreement with them?”

“We proved our political power to the world during nuclear negotiations. We demonstrated the intellectual capability of our diplomats who could sit down with six world powers and reach an agreement about which the other side considers to have been tricked. Of course, this assumption is wrong. Our basis for the deal was a win-win agreement.”

“This year at the United Nations, Iran’s positions were shared by over 190 countries in the world, and only the US and the occupying regime of Israel spoke against Iran.”

“We triumphed on the world’s diplomatic scene. We kept telling the world that we were not after developing nuclear bombs, that we only sought nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Some countries used to say that we were lying, that we were building nukes in secret. So in this case, the nuclear deal was our moral victory. It proved to the world that we had been telling the truth all along.”

“If the U.N. one day decides to issue another resolution against Iran, we will come out as victorious once again, because we had the same experience with our nuclear case.”

“Today, if the U.S. makes an act of violation, the whole world will condemn Washington, not Tehran.”

Oct. 7, 2017, at a ceremony marking the start of the university academic year, according to Mehr News and Reuters


“Today, those who support and oppose the JCPOA are united with a single voice.”

“We consider violation of a commitment wrong and treacherous against the interests of our country, the region and the world.”

“If any side fails to stand committed to the deal, it would be tarnishing its own reputation.

“If the ill-wishing side, our rival and enemy, leaves an agreement, this is not a defeat for us, but rather a defeat for the opposite side."

“Today, the world backs the path that the Islamic Republic of Iran has chosen and there is no one, even among the US’s allies in Europe, who supports destroying the agreement.”

—October 11, 2017, at a cabinet meeting via McClatchy and Press TV

"Exiting such an agreement would carry a high cost for the United States of America, and I do not believe Americans would be willing to pay such a high cost for something that will be useless for them."

Withdrawing from the deal "will yield no results for the United States but at the same time it will generally decrease and cut away and chip away at international trust placed in the Unites States of America."

—Sept. 18, 2017, in an interview with CNN

What do you expect President Trump to say about Iran about the Nuclear Agreement?

What is important is that the issue of the JCPOA is an agreement that, after years of hard work, and the hard work of seven countries nonetheless, and the support of tens of countries, including the European Union, this agreement was obtained. This agreement can be beneficial for everyone, for all sides, and alleviate preoccupations and concerns and pave the way and create the conditions for all countries and all nations to benefit from commercial and economic and scientific and cultural relationships between countries. Therefore, the JCPOA is an agreement to everyone’s benefit. And Iran is a nation in the region of the Middle East that is stabilized. It is a factor for stability. So any words against this reality cannot be helpful for the region or for international relations. I do hope that all of those whom speak from the podium of the United Nations would be mindful of speaking in a way that would benefit nations and the entire world.”

You made headlines by yesterday by saying the United States will pay a high price if it withdrawals from the nuclear agreement. Some might hear a threat in those words. Do you care to clarify what you mean by a high price?

In a multi-lateral agreement, which has received the support of the United Nations Security Council and the core of it is a non-proliferation matter, the exiting of the United States from such an agreement would carry a high cost. Meaning, that subsequent to such a probable action by the United States of America, no one will trust America again. There is no higher price to be paid than this. Because, after such a scenario, which country would be willing to sit across from the United States of America and talk about international issues? Because the JCPOA was obtained after over two years of negotiations and dialogues, dialogues that included sessions over every single word contained in that agreement. Every word was analyzed many times by countries that were involved before its ratification. So if the United States were to not adhere to the commitments and trample upon this agreement, this will mean that it will carry with it the lack of subsequent trust from countries towards the United States. Because the greatest capital that any country has is trust and credibility.

Trust and credibility. But do you also think that there is an economic price?

Well, economically, right now, the conditions do exist for American enterprises, companies and entities, the conditions are very favorable. We see today that many companies from Europe, including France, Belgium, Italy, have come to Iran and are active and are undertaking joint ventures and investments with Iranian entities in the field of petroleum, petrochemicals, gas, water resources, infrastructure, rail transportation, air transportation, and other fields. The Americans can indeed use such an atmosphere to their benefit as well. Now, there are important contracts between different airlines in Iran and Boeing, and many of these dialogues and negotiations are almost in the last phases. So purchases by various Iranian airlines from Boeing would benefit the United States of America.

Constructive relationships will benefit both nations, and the world at large. So, above and beyond, trust and credibility, better relationships in the region and across the word, more stability in the region, commercial and economic relationships, scientific and cultural relationships, between the people, warm relationships, tourism. Why would it be that the people of United States couldn’t come to see the historic and depth of culture that Iran and Persians have to offer? Why is it that Iranians couldn’t come to the United States and meet Americans and see what America is about? And I do think that preventing nations and people from getting to know one and other, from exchanging information and ideas, and science and knowledge and economic activities, it is a loss for the Americans. Those whom in America are called officials and are called decisionmakers in the government and the administration, at the very least, they should be focused on the benefit of their own people. So here we say this, will exiting the JCPOA benefit the United States of America, the nation, the people of America? It will certainly not.

The existence of the JCPOA, what benefit does it carry? It paves the way and readies the continuation for cultural exchanges. For more exchanges. So the fundamental question is, is the relationship the way it has been carried for the past 40 years, has that benefited both nations and countries? No. We do think that are better pathways ahead that will benefit both countries and the world at large.

If the US exits the JCPOA, would anything change from Iran’s perspective? Would Iran continue to abide by the terms of the deal?

What other countries in the last few months have announced quite clearly, whether the Russians, the Chinese, or the European Union, all of it consisted of that they will remain committed to the JCPOA.

—Sept. 19, 2017, in an interview with NBC


Today this agreement is active, has been executed, fully implemented, and Iran has 100 percent adhered to her commitments. Based upon the reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which in every report has underlined that Iran has lived up fully to all of her commitments, particularly including vis-a-vis heavy water.

Therefore, if one side of the agreement, be that the United States or any other side, exits the framework of this agreement, this signifies trampling upon the agreement, which is something that goes against good character and against international commitments of that country. And generally speaking, meaning that it will evaporate international trust in the United States of America. No one will be willing or ready to hold discussions or negotiations with the United States of America, because they will see this as an unfruitful activity to sit for months or years and hold dialogues, which can be eventually ratified and approved by the U.N. Security Council, and then under conditions brought about by the elections of a new president, that president, based upon no foundation, says that “I don't like this agreement.”

So, if international agreements are based upon the liking or not liking of an individual, then, as we say, us Persians, no rock will be permanent on top of another rock. In other words, no one will ever see the resolution of issues through diplomacy. This means that there will be chaos. There will be bullying and threats of military action. If diplomacy ceases to mean what it has meant and it is to be defeated, then the second alternative, the other alternative is a military option. And everyone is to use their full military powers and options. So, therefore, we are quite hopeful that none of the sides of the agreement will decide to go outside of that framework and trample upon the JCPOA.

If the United States exits the agreement, what will Iran do? To this question, in its specified timeframe will say what we will do. There are different ways. Different paths. We have held discussions in the country about the different options. On certain issues, we have already reached decisions and on others we are still holding meetings and going through analyses in order to reach a decision. There are options that we have. And we are not preoccupied by anything, because our support emanates from our people. And on this particular issue, this particular issue will unify all of the people.

In other words, today the United States of America is in a position to solidify the 100 percent support of the Iranian people behind their institutions and government. If America were to exit… the Iranian people will see who the guilty party is that has decided to break international commitments. So, we do not see our side as sustaining a loss under this scenario. The losses would only be focused on the United States of America, and we have made ourselves ready for any situation. We will not have any problems.

—Sept. 18, 2017, to American foreign policy analysts and journalists in New York City


“The new U.S. administration officials should know that the failed experience of threats and sanctions forced their predecessors to come to the negotiating table. If they prefer to return to those times, Iran will definitely return to a situation much more advanced than the start of the nuclear negotiations, not within months and weeks, but in a matter of hours and days.”

—Aug. 19, 2017, in a televised speech


“The world has clearly seen that under Trump, America has ignored international agreements and, in addition to undermining the (nuclear deal), has broken its word on the Paris agreement, the Cuba accord, NAFTA and Transatlantic Accord and has shown to the world and even its allies that the United States is no good partner or reliable negotiator."

—Aug. 15, 2017, in an address to Parliament


“On behalf of the Iranian people and authorities, I explicitly announce that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not start violating the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] but will not remain quiet against the United States' continuing to wriggle out of its commitments... We have no business with novice politicians, but we announce to those more experienced that the process of the JCPOA can be used as a model for relations and international law.”

—Aug. 5, 2017, in a speech to Parliament


Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei



“The officials of the country concluded that they should negotiate and they were even willing to ignore part of their rights in order to lift sanctions; however, today, we see that despite all the agreements and commitments, despite numerous talks, the attitude of US, towards these negotiations and their results, is completely cruel, thuggish and oppressive."

“The Americans should know that the people of Iran will insist on their honorable and powerful positions, that retreating on important matters related to national interests is meaningless to the Islamic Republic, and the Islamic Republic will move forward."

"The corrupt, untruthful, and deceitful officials of the US shamelessly accuse the people of Iran and the Islamic Republic of lying. That is while the people of Iran have moved forward in a sincere manner till this day, and they will continue this movement with sincerity until the end."

"It is you who have lied. And those of you who lie do not want happiness and bliss for any nation. They (deceivers in the US government) condone everything at any price in order to ensure their illegitimate interests."

—September 17, 2017, at a graduation ceremony for police cadets


Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

“The new U.S. administration is seeking to prevent the Islamic Republic from enjoying the benefits of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and this is a violation of the JCPOA’s text.”

—Aug. 5, 2017, at a meeting with E.U. Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini

“I think it is an ill-informed statement, because certainly, any deal would not be a perfect deal for all sides; it has to be less than perfect so all sides can live with it.”

“The nuclear deal is the result of 10 years of posturing and two years of negotiations. Unfortunately, this administration is going back to posturing.”
Oct. 7, 2017, speaking to Al Jazeera, according to Tasnim News


“The policy of Trump’s administration has been to deprive Iran of the JCPOA’s benefits, but through our policies, we will not allow the US to make such a move. We have been successful so far in this regard and will respond with proper measures in the future.”
Oct. 7, 2017, according to PressTV


“After Mr. Trump declares his views, which it is almost clear what he wants to say [on Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal], the Islamic Republic of Iran will give a fitting response at an appropriate time.”
Oct. 8, 2017, according to PressTV


“We purposefully excluded our defensive military capability from negotiations for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear deal is formally known, precisely because Iran will never abrogate its right to defend its citizens or delegate that right to an outside party. It is not intended as leverage or a bargaining chip in future negotiations. No party or country need fear our missiles, or indeed any Iranian military capability, unless it intends to attack our territory or foment trouble through terrorist attacks on our soil.”

“The successful implementation of the nuclear deal—by Iran, at least—is proof of Iran’s good will and peaceful intentions. If we had hegemonic ambitions, an agreement would never have been reached. The JCPOA can in fact be a model for the diplomatic resolution of crises, and for peaceful outcomes in regional disputes. Rather than look at its shortcomings—for in any deal or bargain, there are shortcomings from the perspective of either side—it would behoove other countries beyond to look at its benefits. For there are also benefits for all sides, including for our immediate neighbors.”

October 9, 2017, in an article for The Atlantic


“What the JCPOA has demanded is being implemented and what Ms. Haley wants may be different from that.”

—Sept. 2, 2017, in response to comments by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley

“The former U.S. governments came to the negotiating table after trying to impose (their will) and threatening for years, and now the U.S. cannot forget its undertakings since such a policy will lead to the U.S.’ isolation.”

—Aug. 16, 2017, to lawmakers in Tehran


U.N. Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo

There are a number of reasons the president and hard-liners in Washington think that the White House should pursue this path [to decertify the deal]. But their views are built on a set of false assumptions about the nuclear deal that should be laid to rest.

First, some of the agreement’s opponents claim that the J.C.P.O.A. is “the worst agreement the United States has ever entered into with another country.” This ignores an important truth: The nuclear deal is not a bilateral agreement between Tehran and Washington. In fact, it isn’t even a multilateral deal that requires ratification in either Congress or the Iranian Parliament. It is, instead, a United Nations Security Council resolution.

A second false assumption is that the deal is meant to dictate Iran’s policies in matters unrelated to our nuclear program. This has never been the case. It was always clear that the path to reaching a nuclear deal meant setting aside other geopolitical concerns. ...

A third false assumption is that there is a “sunset clause” in the deal, suggesting that in a decade Iran will be free of inspections or limits on its nuclear program. While it’s true that some provisions regarding restrictions will expire, crucial aspects of inspections will not. ...

What the president and Congress decide to do about recertification is, ultimately, a domestic matter. But if the United States wants to remain credible in future multilateral negotiations, it cannot go against the international consensus and attempt to scuttle past diplomacy whether as political retaliation against a previous administration, or as part of a constant reassessment of American national interests.

October 8, 2017, in anop-ed for The New York Times


Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei

“According to what we have heard, Trump is going to leave the decision to the congress, instead of signing the extension of the wavering of sanctions himself.”

“If he wanted to do otherwise, the U.S. would automatically get out of the JCPOA, but he has chosen a different path and has left decision making to the congress.”

“The congress will have a two to three month grace to take action on whether keep the sanctions wavered or return it back into place, but Trump is to evade the responsibility and put it upon Congress.”

“Trump is like a lifter who is insisting to pick up a 500 kilogram weight while he is unable to lift a 50-60 kilogram one.”

“Defending land and nation is a sacred job and a huge obligation for us, so much as we volunteer to act kilometers beyond our borders and far from our homeland for the cause of defending our nation and our motherland.”

“We joke with nobody about defense and improving our defensive capabilities, we put into action what we deem necessary for defending our country.”

“We are not after nuclear weapons but we use whatever conventional weaponries in the world for defending ourselves.”

“Trump is a hasty person but he should know that Iran is totally different vis-à-vis ten years ago and accordingly he has lost the game before the start of it.”

Oct. 7, 2017, at a press conference, according to Mehr News


Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani

“We will continue to adhere to our obligations ... for as long as other parties observe the agreement.”

"If they [the United States] act like it then there will be hardly anything left from this agreement. So a new issue will arise on the international arena."

October 13, 2017, during a visit to Russia via the Associated Press and Mehr News

“Iran’s JCPOA supervisory body assessed the new U.S. sanctions and decided that they contradict parts of the nuclear deal,”

—Aug. 1, 2017, quoted by Tasnim News Agency and Reuters


“The US must act according to international regulations. Gone are the days when one could dictate [policies] to other countries, because countries want to be independent,”

—June 30, 2017, speaking at a press conference in Seoul, South Korea


“The member states of the Group 5+1 (the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany) should remain committed to the deal and stop their annoying moves.”

—Aug. 5, 2017, at a meeting with the president of the Austrian National Council


Revolutionary Guards Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari

“As we’ve stated before, if new U.S. sanctions are implemented, the country must remove their regional bases from within the 2000-kilometer radius of Iran’s missile range.”

“If American’s main goal in raising such topics is to open a negotiation door with Iran, then they have chosen the wrong path.”

“Americans should know that Iran will take advantage of Trump’s ridiculous treatment of JCPOA to advance missile, regional and defensive programs.”

Oct. 8, 2017, at the strategic council meeting of IRGC, according to Mehr News


Chairman of Parliament's Foreign Policy and National Security Committee Alaeddin Boroujerdi

“Given the presence of many countries in the Iranian economic market, the Americans do not see a share staked out for them. Hence, they are seeking to disrupt the implementation of the JCPOA (the official name for the nuclear deal) and the lifting of sanctions… As a result, the Americans are constantly looking for pretexts and putting pressure on Agency officials”

—Sept. 4, 2017, in a statement to Parliament

”Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement has been time and again confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency as an eligible international body. The U.S. Congress cannot declare anything contrary to this.”

“The U.S. president has been pressured by the Zionists into playing a game whose main loser will definitely be him, because what he seeks by violating the nuclear deal is to put pressure on Iran.”

Oct. 7, 2017, according to Mehr News


Cabinet Spokesperson Mohammad Bagher Nobakht

“We all need to unite against a man who speaks a lot of nonsense.”

“The least that the nuclear deal did for us was that it revealed to the world that Iran is in compliance with its international commitments while the U.S. was isolated. The oath-breaking country is the U.S. Iran did not suffer any loss, rather it proved its rightfulness to the world.”

Oct. 10, 2017, in a briefing session, according to Mehr News


Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri

"Regional and global conditions clearly show the presence of a risky process; the United States seeks to impose the idea that Iran is violating JCPOA and provoke the international community against Iran, a move which has not been successful so far."

—July 29, 2017, in a statement


Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi

“I do hope that the U.S. governing body would refrain from making the same strategic mistake [by imposing further sanctions on Iran], but if they move toward this decision, Iran’s response would be decisive and harsh.”

“I believe that the U.S. has to accept all consequences of that decision.”

“We should wait and take decisions based on what will unfold in the future.”

“What is clear at this moment is that European governments have voiced strong opposition against U.S. unilateral policies, and based on what they have told us, they will continue their cooperation with Iran.”

Oct. 9, 2017, according to Mehr News

“The contacts of the US government or representatives with the IAEA are their own business. If they are making efforts to cause problems for the JCPOA, I think that is a futile and pointless effort, since the Agency will at the end of the day follow its responsibilities with precision, and future reports will [continue to] confirm this (Iranian compliance), as well,”

—Aug. 21, 2017, during a daily press briefing


Advisor to the Supreme Leader, Ali Akbar Velayati

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has its own set of measures and approaches and has proven its commitment to the nuclear deal on numerous occasions.”

“The IAEA Director-General has confirmed Iran’s compliance under the agreement in all of its eight reports so far,”

“It is not acceptable to any side that someone without any rationality should claim that Iran has not been committed to the agreement. The only criterion for judgment is the reports of the IAEA Director-General.”

“Whatever measure the US is going to take toward Iran and the nuclear issues, we will preserve the right to make an appropriate response.”

“Other signatories to the nuclear deal have a responsibility to force the United States into complying with its international commitments,”

“Russia, China, UK, France and Germany should keep the US committed to its obligations as determined by the IAEA as well as the nuclear negotiations, because the violation has come from the US and Iran has remained faithful to the agreement.”

—Oct.12, 2017, by Mehr News Agency


“According to all existing reports, Iran has proved its commitment to the nuclear deal, but unfortunately Americans, especially under the Trump administration, are following illogical stances, which are at odds with the nuclear agreement.”

—Sept. 17, 2017, in a meeting with the president of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives


Vice President and Atomic Energy Organization of Iran chief Ali Akbar Salehi

“We are continuously assessing if this agreement benefits us, or if the price is too high to stay in the deal. If the United States pulls out of the agreement, but the rest of the countries stay committed -- namely Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia -- then Iran would most probably stick with the commitments to the agreement without the U.S. But if the U.S. leaves the treaty and Europe follows, then this deal will certainly collapse and Iran will go back to what it was before and, technically speaking, to a much higher level. As a person who has taken part in these negotiations, I wouldn't like to see that happen.”

“As I said, if the nuclear agreement is breached, economically we would face some difficulties, but politically we would be gaining. … I think our partners in this treaty have more to lose than we do.”

“If the nuclear agreement collapses, there will be no chance for a settlement of North Korea's nuclear issue. Pyongyang would say, well, they broke the nuclear deal with Tehran, how can we trust them? It would also undermine the integrity of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. There will be a tsunami of outrage coming from all countries interested in developing peaceful nuclear technology.”

—Sept. 8, 2017, in an interview with Der Spiegel

“Some want the JCPOA to be renegotiated in technical dimensions, but it is not renegotiable.”

Oct. 5, 2017, speaking to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, according to Tasnim News


Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi

“In our view the nuclear deal has been violated and we will show an appropriate and proportional reaction to this issue [of new U.S. sanctions.”

—Aug. 2, 2017, in an interview with state TV


Head of Strategic Council on Foreign Relations Kamal Kharrazi

“If the others get out of the deal, it is natural that nothing will be left of the JCPOA, and [we will] pursue our past policies. However, as the [Iranian] officials have said, they are ready for any situation. It is true that the Americans are regularly not honoring their commitments, and not only the spirit but also the letter of the JCPOA has been violated by the United States. But they haven’t officially left the JCPOA.”

—Sept. 12, 2017, in an interview with ISNA via Al-Monitor