The 2015 nuclear deal between Iran, the US, and other world powers was sealed officially at the UN in the form of a resolution in the Security Council. The UN has also become the primary dueling ground for the two main parties to air their grievances.
The US last month approved a set of sanctions against Tehran, aimed at its missile program and support for terrorism, a move that officials and members of Congress have said is separate from the nuclear deal. But on Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that the sanctions violate the spirit of the deal.
Rouhani's speech has been taken as a warning that Iran will withdraw unilaterally from the deal, known by the acronym JPCOA, should US sanctions move forward. US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley swiftly fired off a statement condemning Rouhani's words.
“Iran cannot be allowed to use the nuclear deal to hold the world hostage," Haley said on Tuesday. "Iran, under no circumstances, can ever be allowed to have nuclear weapons. At the same time, however, we must also continue to hold Iran responsible for its missile launches, support for terrorism, disregard for human rights, and violations of UN Security Council resolutions. The nuclear deal must not become ‘too big to fail.’”
Now the Iranian mission to the UN is firing back — hard. In a statement first provided to BuzzFeed News on Friday, Iranian Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo said that Haley's statement was "devoid of any shred of truth."
"Instead of distorting the recent remarks of President Rouhani, the U.S. Ambassador should heed the lessons of history and counsel some of the U.S. administration officials to avoid repeating past mistakes," the statement continued. "The hard-line and parochial positions adopted by certain senior U.S. officials against Iran could further exacerbate instability in the region."
The statement also claims that Iran is a stabilizing force in the region, an assessment that many independent analysts would have trouble agreeing with. The country is currently fighting against ISIS in Iraq and Syria via a set of Shia militias, but is also propping up Syria's dictator Bashar al-Assad.
President Donald Trump meanwhile is known to not be a fan of the the Iran nuclear deal, which he has repeatedly referred to as one of the "worst deals in history" — both on the campaign trail and while in office. In approving the deal, the US Congress requires the White House to confirm every 90 days that Iran is in compliance. Trump signed off on the deal in July, but he's made clear in later interviews that he wants his advisers to do their best to ensure that Iran is found to have violated the deal when the next period of review comes around in October.
The JPCOA does include a mechanism by which its members can bring grievances before a neutral body. Neither the United States nor Iran has invoked this provision at this time.
Read the full Iranian statement here:
The 15th August press statement by the U.S. Ambassador to the UN on Iran is devoid of any shred of truth. The rhetoric and baseless accusations against Iran contained therein represent the latest examples of a series of provocative words, outright threats and irresponsible actions from some senior officials of the U.S. administration in demonizing Iran and undermining the JCPOA inconsistent with the U.S. commitments under paragraph 28 of the nuclear deal.
Instead of distorting the recent remarks of President Rouhani, the U.S. Ambassador should heed the lessons of history and counsel some of the U.S. administration officials to avoid repeating past mistakes. President Rouhani, in his remarks on 15 August, stressed that "Iran lives up to its JCPOA commitments and would proportionately respond to any violation of the JCPOA by other participants. Those who attempt to revert to language of sanction and threat, are prisoners of their past delusions, and by fearmongering and antagonizing they would only deprive themselves from the benefits of peace."
The U.S. blunders and military interventions in the Middle East during the last two decades have destabilized the region and fueled violent extremism, terrorism and tensions. The hard-line and parochial positions adopted by certain senior U.S. officials against Iran could further exacerbate instability in the region. Iran as a stabilizing force in the region is acting responsibly in eradicating Daesh (also known as ISIS) in Syria and Iraq and remains determined to seek a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Middle East free from extremism, terrorism, extra-regional interventions and weapons of mass destruction. Iran stands ready to continue cooperation with the regional States to achieve the shared goals and to address the existing regional challenges.