Mojtaba Zonnour, the head of the Nuclear Affairs commission in the Iranian parliament has demanded that Tehran “stop implementing the [2015] nuclear deal.” Zonnour argued that the strong U.S. response to Iran’s provocative intermediate range ballistic missile tests was a sufficient excuse for Iran to cancel the deal, which Iran signed with the US and five other states (Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany) in July 2015. The U.S. imposed the new sanctions after it judged the recent tests of a nuclear-capable missile with a range of 600km as a violation of U.N.S.C.R. 2231.

Zonnour, who is close to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and was formerly his deputy representative to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.), used the opportunity to attack the government of President Hassan Rouhani. “We expect nothing more and nothing less from the [Rouhani] government than implementing the law,” he said in claiming that Iranian legislation requires nullification of the 2015 deal following latest US sanctions. Given his past appointment, Zonnour remains close to the commanders of the I.RG.C. and is a staunch defender of Iran’s ballistic missile program. 

Some Iranians have consistently attempted to argue that any new sanctions imposed by the U.S. or any other signatory to the J.C.P.O.A. are a violation of the nuclear deal itself, whether or not they are related. Thus, despite the fact that the U.S. application of new sanctions is responding to violations of U.N.S.C.R. 2231 and therefore unconnected to the J.C.P.O.A., elements of the Iranian regime are attempting to use the issue as an excuse to abandon the nuclear deal and resume the nuclear program.