Presidential candidate Alireza Zakani

Ex-FM Zarif's Office Rebuts Hardliner Candidate's Claims on JCPOA Secrecy

Monday, 06/17/2024

Iran’s former Foreign Minister has responded to criticism of allegations of secrecy surrounding the 2015 nuclear deal amid the presidential race war of words.

Presidential candidate Alireza Zakani accused Mohammad Javad Zarif, along with former President Hassan Rouhani and former Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, of “clandestinely” handling the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) document.

Zakani claimed that the trio withheld the JCPOA from other vital Iranian officials, including then-Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Admiral Ali Shamkhani, and the special advisor to the Supreme Leader, Ali Akbar Velayati, under "utmost confidentiality."

The response from Zarif's office denounced Zakani's claims as “baseless”, highlighting that the JCPOA text and its Persian translation were publicly posted on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' official website immediately after the deal's conclusion, debunking the notion of secrecy.

Furthermore, Zarif’s office also defended the JCPOA's “legitimacy”, noting its ratification by various Iranian governmental bodies and its alignment with the will of the Islamic regime, as recognized by the Supreme Leader.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly referred to as the Iran nuclear deal, was a landmark agreement reached in July 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 group, comprising the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany.

The core objective of the JCPOA was to curb Iran's nuclear capabilities to ensure they remained strictly for peaceful purposes, in exchange for lifting economic sanctions that had impacted Iran's economy. Under the agreement, Iran agreed to reduce its stockpile of uranium, limit its level of uranium enrichment, and decrease the number of its centrifuges in return for relief from sanctions.

However, the US withdrew from the accord in 2018 under President Donald Trump, which led to the re-imposition of US sanctions. Since then, Iran's uranium enrichment has reached levels which the UN's nuclear chief says allows Iran to be "weeks not months" away from a nuclear weapon.

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