Iranian Foreign Ministry Official Threatens to Walk Away from Nuke Deal

Iran could walk away from the 2015 nuclear deal if it doesn’t realize the economic benefits it was expecting from the deal, the nation’s deputy foreign minister told an audience in London, Reuters reported Thursday.

Speaking at the Chatham House think tank, Abbas Araqhci said that banks were not doing business with Iran due to uncertainty over the future of the deal in light of President Donald Trump’s declaration that he would no longer waive sanctions unless specific weaknesses in the deal are fixed.

“If the same policy of confusion and uncertainties about the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) continues, if companies and banks are not working with Iran, we cannot remain in a deal that has no benefit for us,” Araqchi told the audience, adding, “that’s a fact.”

The weaknesses needing to be addressed include: demanding that Iran open up its military sites for inspection, demanding an end to its missile development program, an end to the sunset clauses that allow Iran to develop an industrial strength enrichment program, and punishing Iran for its terror support and human rights abuses.

Though Araqchi blamed the regime’s claimed disappointment in the economic benefits of the deal on Trump, Iranian officials made similar threats when Obama was president too.

Valyollah Seif, the governor of Iran’s central bank, for example, warned in April 2016 that the nuclear deal would “break up” if the U.S. didn’t give Iran greater access to its financial system.

But one of the reasons businesses shied away from working with Iran was due to its involvement in money laundering and terror finance.

Stuart Levey, former Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence in both the Bush and Obama administrations, said in October 2016 that businesses remain hesitant to engage in commerce with Iran because of the risks it poses due to its terror support and money laundering. “What you’ve seen more broadly…is the sanctions get lifted, [but] the major international financial institutions will still resist doing business until the underlying facts change,” said Levey, now the chief legal officer of the banking giant HSBC.

Despite Iran’s complaints that it did not receive enough of an economic boost from the nuclear deal, it has regularly boosted its military spending since the deal was implemented two years ago.

[Photo: Mehr News]