Representatives from the United States and Iran held meetings at the United Nations on Wednesday, one day after Trump's firebrand speech that blasted the Iranian nuclear deal of 2015 as an “embarrassment,” and accused the Islamic Republic of engaging in alleged “destabilizing activities.”
U.S. Secretary of State, and former ExxonMobil Executive Rex Tillerson, met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, along with other representatives of the nuclear deal's signatory countries, and spoke for a “relatively long time,” according to a third party observer.
Speaking to press after the meeting, Tillerson said that the United States is not disputing that Iran is in “technical compliance” with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal that was agreed upon in 2015.
Rather, the U.S. is now turning their back on the deal because of “political aspects,” Tillerson said. Detailing the U.S. President Donald Trump's claims that Iran is “destabilizing,” he said that the country has provided assistance to the so-called “regime” of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and built non-nuclear ballistic missiles, which Tillerson claims “threaten U.S. national security.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, speaking at a press conference following his speech at the UN General Assembly, said that a U.S. betrayal of the deal will make future negotiations impossible.
“We held negotiations for many years on the agreement... but today the Americans talk of leaving the deal. So why should negotiations on other issues be held [with the U.S.]?” Rouhani said speaking to reporters, adding that further negotiations would be a “waste of time,” given this history.
Rouhani said that by turning their backs on the deal, the U.S. will “discredit itself globally,” and lose the trust of the international community to make negotiations in the future.
The #JCPOA is not (re)negotiable. A "better" deal is pure fantasy. About time for U.S. to stop spinning and begin complying, just like Iran.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) September 14, 2017
Following the meeting, Zarif said that there seemed to be a consensus that it is necessary for all signatories to respect the deal and remain committed to it. “The U.S. is detached from the realities of the international community,” he said.
Federica Mogherini, the European Union foreign policy chief, agreed with the Iranian diplomat in saying that “there is no need to renegotiate.” Mogherini said that all parties in the meeting agreed that Iran is in compliance with the deal.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that his country is “extremely concerned” by the recent statements of the Trump administration regarding the JCPOA.
French President Emmanuel Macron, while he did criticize Iran's ballistic missile development, praised the JCPOA as “an agreement that's essential to peace.”
Even conservative British Prime Minister Theresa May gave a strong backing to the deal, saying Britain is “determined to continue it."
The JCPOA was signed between Iran and a group of six major world powers, as an agreement to place restrictions on Iran's nuclear technology development in exchange for the normalizing of economic relations and lifting of sanctions against them. The deal has been widely heralded and celebrated internationally for being a diplomatic success and example.
Iran has repeatedly emphasized that at no point did they have ambitions to develop nuclear weapons, and only wished to use the technology for peaceful purposes.