Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned that the country will ditch the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if EU states file a complaint over its nuclear commitments with the UN Security Council.
“If the Europeans continue their improper behavior or send Iran’s file to the Security Council, we will withdraw from the NPT,” Zarif said on Monday, as quoted by IRNA.
Last week, France, Germany and Britain formally lodged a complaint that Tehran is violating the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program. The countries now have up to 60 days to resolve the dispute. Otherwise, the issue can be brought before the UN Security Council, which would vote whether to re-impose international sanctions on Iran.
Zarif called the decision to launch the complaint a “political game.” The diplomat explained that the country has been scaling down its commitments under the JCPOA in accordance with the mechanisms laid out in the agreement, and had only done so after the US abandoned the deal in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions on Iran.
Iran began gradually decreasing its commitments under the JCPOA a year later, and repeatedly said that it will return to full compliance once the EU provides some relief from the US sanctions. The country stopped following the deal altogether earlier this month, shortly after a US drone strike in Iraq assassinated senior Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani. US President Donald Trump labelled the deal “defective at its core” and accused Iran of secretly violating it. Iran denied this, and multiple reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at the time confirmed that the Islamic Republic was complying with the agreement.
Under the NPT, states that do not have nuclear weapons are banned from acquiring or developing them in the future.