FM spox: No direct or indirect talks with US before lifting of all sanctions

4/11/2021 2:16:00 PM

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh has once again ruled out the possibility of engaging in “any direct or indirect talks” with the United States as long as Washington refuses to remove all the sanctions it has imposed, re-imposed or relabeled against the country.

“There were no direct or indirect talks in Vienna or elsewhere [between Iran and the United States] because there is no need for any new negotiations,” Saeed Khatibzadeh said in an interview with CNN correspondent Christian Amanpour on Friday at the end of four days of talks in the Austrian capital between representatives of Iran and the remaining parties to the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

He added that Iran and the P4+1 group of countries — Britain, France, Russia, and China plus Germany – as well as the EU, as the coordinator of the JCPOA, are working “to identify the full list of sanctions that the United States should actually remove.

“Whether Iran and the United States can again talk, it depends [on whether] the United States gets back to the deal and ... the JCPOA table when everybody is present, then we can continue. But, until then, there would be no direct or indirect talks or negotiations between the two sides,” the Iranian spokesperson said.

The JCPOA has been in crisis since May 2018, when the US under ex-president Donald Trump pulled his country of the agreement and re-imposed the sanctions that had been removed under the UN-endorsed document.

Besides, the hawkish Trump administration launched a campaign of “maximum pressure” on Iran, under which it placed on Iran several other sets of sanctions under pretexts unrelated to the nuclear issue.

A year later, Iran began to take a series of progressive retaliatory measures as part of its contractual rights under Article 36 of the JCPOA.

Critical of Trump’s Iran policy, the new US administration of Joe Biden says it wants to rejoin the JCPOA, but has so far refused to compensate for the former president’s mistake and remove his anti-Iran sanctions, as required by Tehran.

Iran has invariably asserted that the United States must first remove all the Trump-era sanctions if it seriously seeks to return to the JCPOA.

Elaborating on the talks in Vienna, Khatibzadeh said, “The moves in Vienna were in right direction. There were positive moves that all the 4+1 [countries] made in Vienna.”

“The Vienna talks show that progress is possible and that the positive momentum which has [been] created by the 4+1 and Iran can be sustained if the United States is ready to fulfill its obligations under the UN Security Council Resolution 2231” that endorses the JCPOA, he added. 

He went on to describe the “dedicate situation” surrounding the future of the nuclear deal, saying there are some individuals within the current administration of Biden who “are much more committed to Trump sanctions than [former president Barack] Obama’s nuclear deal.”

He added that Biden should make a “political decision” and clarify if he actually wants to “risk the nuclear deal signed by the United States when he was vice president in favor of Trump’s failed .... sanctions or is he actually trying to depart from this failure?”

Asked about Iran’s viewpoint on the significance of the revival of the JCPOA, Khatibzadeh said, “Iran has been always crystal clear on the JCPOA” which was signed following tough negotiations between the former P5+1 plus Iran and the EU.

Since then Iran has always been consistent in terms of elaborating that everybody should be in full compliance with the JCPOA, he said, adding that Iran has been "fully and faithfully" implementing the JCPOA even one year after president Trump withdrew from the JCPOA.

Since then, Iran has always been "crystal clear that all sanctions imposed illegally on Iran by the United States, meaning that those who have been imposed, re-imposed or relabeled by [the] Trump administration, should be removed verifiably and at once,” the Foreign Ministry spokesman pointed out.

He noted that Iran is pursuing a “crystal clear position” which is not only logical but also a workable path for the United States to get back to the JCPOA and full compliance with the deal.

He emphasized that it was the US that broke the deal and thus it has to fix it now.

“It is almost impossible for anybody inside Iran to trust the United States, especially after four years of nonstop economic war against the Iranian people,” he said.

He added that the Trump administration imposed all sanctions on Iran in the first place “not because Iran was violating the JCPOA. Iran was subject to the illegal extraterritorial sanctions by the United States because Iran was fully and faithfully actually implementing the JCPOA.”

“So, logically it is up to the United States to show ... everybody that they want to reverse the course that the Trump administration has started,” Khatibzadeh pointed out.

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