Original nuclear deal has become ‘empty shell’ for Tehran: Senior Iran official

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Iran’s top security official said on Wednesday that the 2015 nuclear deal has become an “empty shell” for the Islamic Republic, adding that Tehran will not negotiate with the West over its ballistic missile program and regional activities.

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“The US and Europe failed the test of fulfilling their obligations under the JCPOA,” Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, wrote on Twitter, using the acronym for the formal name of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.


Shamkhani said the nuclear deal has become an “empty shell” for Iran from an economic standpoint.

“The JCPOA has now become an empty shell for Iran with regards to the economic field and the lifting of sanctions,” he wrote.

Shamkhani added that Iran will not enter negotiations with the West that address anything beyond the nuclear deal. Iran has long maintained that issues beyond the nuclear file, such as its ballistic missile program and regional activities, are non-negotiable.

“There will be no negotiations beyond the JCPOA with the untrustworthy America and the passive Europe,” he said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last year that after restoring the 2015 deal, the Biden administration would seek a “longer and stronger agreement” that would address other “deeply problematic” issues.

Talks aimed at reviving the deal between the remaining signatories to the deal – Iran, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain – are currently taking place in Vienna.

The US is participating indirectly in the talks due to Iran’s refusal to negotiate directly with Washington.

The talks, which began in April 2021, aim to bring Iran back into compliance with the deal and facilitate a US return to the agreement.

Washington withdrew from the deal in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump, who also reimposed sweeping sanctions on Tehran.

Iran began breaching the deal’s restrictions following the US’ withdrawal from the deal.

The deal offered Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

Tehran, which today enriches uranium up to 60 percent purity – a big step closer to the 90 percent required for weapons-grade material – insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

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