The US is first required to prove in practice the veracity of its claims about Washington’s willingness to return to the Iran nuclear deal and, then, if it is interested in holding negotiations, respect the previous agreement and act on its basis, said an Iranian MP.
EbrahimAzizi, the head of the Security Committee of theIranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, made the remarksin an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, in reaction to the probability of Tehran holding negotiations with Washington on the issue of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) following Joe Biden’s coming to power as US president.
In his stump speeches over the course of his election campaign, Biden promised to bring US back to the JCPOA in case of notching up victory in the presidential race. He has repeatedly blamed US President Donald Trump for pulling out of the deal, declaring that the policy of “maximum pressure” had failed.
In May 2018, Trump, having signed an executive order, pulled the US out of the JCPOA, signed between Iran and the P5+1 in July 2015, and reimposed Washington’s unilateral sanctions on Tehran.
Mainly targeting Iran’s oil and banking sectors, the sanctions were imposed in a bid to cripple the Iranian economy, a plot which was foiled thanks to Iranian people’s resistance. The sole outcome of Trump’s irrational move for the US was that it practically lost its membership in the agreement.
If the new US government lifts all the sanctions, fulfills its commitments under the JCPOA and releases Iran’s frozen assets, the MP added, the possibility will exist for holding talks on the deal.
Commenting on Iran’s approach toward holding negotiations with the US on the JCPOA, the lawmaker also said the basic principle of Iran’s foreign policy is fixed, clear and inviolable.
“With regard to the JCPOA, we must adopt a comprehensive approach and act on the basis of our national interests.”
Highlighting the necessity of the removal of the sanctions against Tehran, he said Iran’s interests within the framework of the deal has by no means been safeguarded so far.
“The Americans, in particular, have not met their commitments. If any negotiationsare expected to be held on this issue, Iran’s interests under the deal must be served and Iranian people’s absolute rights regarding the country’s nuclear program must be upheld.”
The signing of the JCPOA was supposed to be followed by reciprocal steps by Iran and the P5+1, with the former limiting its nuclear activities and the latter removing the related sanctions previously imposed on Tehran, allowing the country to sell oil and receive its money.
Following US withdrawalfrom the deal and given the European sides’ incapabilityof fulfilling their JCPOA commitments entirely, Iran placed on the agenda a phased reduction of its obligations under the deal. In January 2020, the Islamic Republic took the last step toward reducing its JCPOA commitments and announced, in a statement, that it would no longer accept any limitation on its nuclear activities.
Tehran has, however, frequently announced that it will reverse its steps if the other parties to the deal fulfill their commitments according to the agreement.
“Advancing and enhancing our nuclear knowledge is what we are required to pursue seriously today. We believe that we have to be more decisive and braver with regard to our nuclear steps and act on the basis of our national interests,”Azizi stressed.
The Iranian Parliament, and, in particular, its National Security and Foreign Policy Committeeare responsible and duty-boundto defend Iran’s nuclear rights and the country’s national interests with regard to the JCPOA issue, he added.
The parliament does not prioritize partisan and political gains over national interests in this issue, the MP stressed.
As one of the most important and effective pillars of the Islamic Republic, the Iranian Parliament does not tie the fate of the JCPOA to Iran’s June 2021 presidential election and its result as the country’s national interests should not depend on this issue, he said.
Commenting on the impact of Biden’s election on the future of the sanctions and Iran’s economy, Azizi noted that basically, at present, the country’s economic problems mainly stem from domestic issues.
“It is not important for us who will come to power in the US. We maintain that all US presidents are the same. Thus, Biden’s entry into the White House will not help solve our economic problems.”
He added pinning hope on Biden’s arrival in the White House will only exacerbate the country’s economic conditions as such an approach would condition the domestic financial system.
This comes as Iran had been standing defianteven prior to Biden’s election, the lawmaker said.
On the intensification of Washington’s sanctions on Tehran by Trump in the last weeks of his term in office, Azizi noted, “We should not expect an enemy to show a non-hostile behavior toward us. The US has been adoptinginimical stances and policies toward Iran over the past 40 years.”
Thanks to its resistance against Washington’s sanctions and hostility, Iran has undermined US grandeur and thus such behaviors are naturally expected from the US government, the MP said.
“I, however, do not mean that we should not interact and hold dialogue with the world. Any negotiations or interaction, however, has to be based on a principle and a logic.”