August 26, 2019
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Iran is committed to nuclear agreement, foreign minister says

Tokyo, May 16 (efe-epa).- Iran is committed to the 2015 nuclear agreement it signed with a group of world powers despite the withdrawal of the United States from the landmark pact, the Gulf country's foreign minister said Thursday, calling the reimposing of the sanctions by Washington "unacceptable".

Mohammad Javad Zarif during a visit to Japan talked about the nuclear agreement in a meeting with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono in Tokyo to discuss Iran's situation and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that the Islamic republic signed with six nations - the US, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany - and the European Union.

Zarif said Tehran did not intend to escalate tensions but if the country was under threat, it would respond to it and defend it, state broadcaster NHK reported.

He also urged the rest of the signatory countries that if the international community benefits from the historic agreement, it must be prepared to invest in it to stop the US from propagating illegality and anarchy, state-run Kyodo news agency said, citing the Iranian foreign minister.

Kyodo also reported that Kono urged Iran to comply with its commitments in the pact following Tehran's decision to suspend some of them in response to stricter sanctions imposed by the US.

Kono, during his meeting with Zarif, said it was important to maintain the pact not only for their bilateral relations but also for peace and stability in the Middle East along with international non-proliferation.

After his meeting with Kono, Zarif was received by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who expressed Japan's concerns over the growing tensions in the Middle East and Tokyo's will to maintain and develop bilateral relations.

Zarif's visit comes during the year of 90th anniversary of the establishment of the bilateral diplomatic relations between the two countries.

After President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the agreement that was signed by his predecessor Barack Obama, the US reimposed sanctions on Iran in August and November and increased pressure on the country, an escalation of the situation which Zarif called "unacceptable."

Responding to the fresh sanctions, Iran last week announced that it would not abide by the condition set under the agreement to sell its enriched uranium and heavy water beyond specified limits.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani issued a 60-day deadline for the rest of the signatories of the pact to fulfill Iran's demands and save the country's banking system and oil trade from international sanctions.

Rouhani also warned of a further two-step response, which would include Iran not abiding with the commitment to not enrich uranium beyond the agreed limit of 3.67 percent, and taking steps to complete the Arak Heavy Water Reactor.

The JCPOA limits Iran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting international sanctions but has been weakened since Washington's exit.

Tensions have escalated between Iran and the US. The US Department of Defense announced recently that it would reinforce its forces deployed in the Gulf.EFE-EPA

mra/sk/ssk

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