Iran would return to compliance with the nuclear deal inside an hour of the US doing so, its president mentioned – however he confronted additional stress from the outgoing Trump administration after it sanctioned two Iranian officers over their alleged involvement within the abduction of a former FBI agent.
Hassan Rouhani additionally made clear he was not ready to debate any modifications to the deal, or any constraints on Iran’s ballistic missile programme.
His remarks on Monday, underlining his dedication to elevate crippling US sanctions, got here forward of a gathering on Wednesday of the joint fee, the physique that brings collectively the present signatories to the nuclear deal.
The fee could be the primary likelihood for Iran and the European signatories to the deal – France Germany and the UK – to debate a route again into the deal for the US below a brand new administration led by Joe Biden.
However Iran got here below recent stress on Monday when the US for the primary time blamed it for the presumed demise of the retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, who disappeared on Iran’s Kish island in 2007.
“Senior Iranian officers authorised Levinson’s abduction and detention and launched a disinformation marketing campaign to deflect blame from the regime,” the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, mentioned in an announcement because the US introduced sanctions on two Iranian intelligence officers believed liable for Levinson’s abduction.
In the meantime, plans for a gradual thaw in EU-Iranian relations have been thrown off beam by the execution on Saturday of Ruhollah Zam, an Iranian journalist and blogger.
The execution prompted the postponement of a three-day worldwide convention on the best way to promote financial partnership between Europe and Iran. 4 EU envoys primarily based in Tehran and resulting from converse on the convention pulled out in protest at what they described because the barbaric execution of Zam, a killing that was additionally denounced by Jake Sullivan, Joe Biden’s choose to be nationwide safety adviser.
The timing of Zam’s execution, instantly forward of the convention, was seen by some as an try by hardliners to sabotage any reconciliation via financial contacts.
The EU and US criticism of Iran’s human rights file raises questions of how massive an impediment the problem may turn into in shaping a rapprochement between Iran and the west. Thus far Biden has mentioned he desires at first to deal with the slender difficulty of lifting sanctions, and the US rejoining the deal in return for Iran totally complying with its obligations to restrain its nuclear programme.
Rouhani mentioned at his press convention that European nations “have the suitable to remark, however Zam was executed upon a courtroom’s ruling”, stressing that the judiciary was unbiased. “I believe it’s unlikely that this may damage Iran-Europe relations,” he mentioned.
The president additionally attacked his inner critics, saying some wished to maintain US sanctions on Iran going for an additional 5 years.
Ellie Geranmayeh, a senior coverage fellow on the European Council on Overseas Relations, mentioned the episode served as a reminder for each side “that human rights will rightly proceed to be an influential consider how ties develop whatever the destiny of the nuclear deal”.
Iran regarded Zam not as a journalist, however as an agitator for avenue protests in 2017. A information company near Iran’s Revolutionary Guards mentioned final week he had been captured in Iraq and brought to Iran.
Pompeo additionally known as the execution “unjust, barbaric”, including in a tweet: “Zam uncovered the brutality and corruption of the regime, which has killed or arrested greater than 860 journalists in its 41-year reign of terror.”