A senior Iranian official accused the United States on Saturday of violating the 2015 nuclear deal by sanctioning the Islamic Republic over its illicit ballistic missile program.
“Undoubtedly, the U.S. breach of the [nuclear deal] won’t go unanswered,” said Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s state-owned PressTV reported.
Iran is bringing a complaint to the joint committee in charge of the implementing the accord, which meets in Vienna later this week.
According to PressTV, the apparent “breach” was the White House’s decision earlier this month to penalize Iran for its extensive ballistic missile development. Notably, the nuclear agreement only prohibits the imposition of new nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, and does not extend to the country’s rogue missile program.
At a Senate hearing in July 2015, then Secretary of State John Kerry was emphatic that Iran agreed that the nuclear deal would not bar Washington from imposing and maintaining non-nuclear sanctions against it. He said:
They are clear and we are clear that we have all other kinds of authorities, and let me be specific on that, because it’s important for this whole debate to be clear. Even with the lifting of sanctions after eight years on missiles or five year on arms are the UN sanctions. It’s only the UN sanctions. We still have sanctions. Our primary embargo is still in place. We are still sanctioning them.
In August 2005, Iran unilaterally withdrew from an agreement it had made with the EU3 (United Kingdom, France, and Germany) a year earlier, and restarted its uranium enrichment program. Iran’s continued defiance of its Nuclear Nonproliferation treaty obligations led to its being sanctioned numerous times by the United Nations Security Council beginning in 2006.
Current Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who led the nuclear talks with the EU3, characterized the negotiations in early 2006 as a stalling tactic that allowed Iran to perfect its enrichment of uranium.