Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday called on the European signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal not to miss the “last chance” for saving the multilateral pact.
“Last chance for E3/EU to save the JCPOA,” Zarif tweeted after a videoconference at which foreign ministers of Iran, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China as well as the European Union’s foreign policy chief discussed the future of the nuclear agreement – known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
During the virtual meeting, the JCPOA parties “agreed to continue dialogue to ensure full JCPOA implementation by all sides”, a joint statement released by the EU said.
They also expressed their readiness to “positively address” the possible return of the United States to the accord in a “joint effort”.
Outgoing US President Donald Trump stepped out of the deal unilaterally in 2018 and reinstated tough sanctions on Iran. But his successor President-elect Joe Biden has promised to rejoin the accord, which was negotiated while he was vice president, and seek diplomacy with Iran.
In his tweets, Zarif noted that “Iran-EU 2014-2019 trade data proves E3/EU have gravely breached their JCPOA obligations”.
“E3 share the blame with US for irreparable harm to Iranians,” he pointed out, referring to the European members of the JCPOA.
Iran’s top diplomat said they “collectively decided to exclude” issues related to the Middle East.
“All must return to effective JCPOA compliance,” Zarif said, stressing that renegotiation of the nuclear deal is “out of question”.
The deal promises Iran economic incentives in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, but with the reinstatement of American sanctions, the other member nations failed to protect Iran.
A year after Trump’s “unlawful withdrawal and blatant E3 breaches”, Iran took several steps away from the JCPOA in retaliation.
Zarif said Iran “will rapidly reverse remedial measures” when “US/E3 perform their duties”.
He said the Iranian people “MUST feel the effects of sanctions lifting”.
Addressing the online meeting, the foreign ministers of China and Russia said the US should return to the JCPOA "unconditionally" at an early date and lift sanctions against Iran as well as third-party entities and individuals.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said US withdrawal from the JCPOA and its "maximum pressure" policy on the Islamic Republic are the root causes of challenges pertaining to Iran’s nuclear program, Press TV wrote.
Wang added that the Iran nuclear situation has come to a critical juncture as Biden has pledged to rejoin the JCPOA, but Washington has been at the same time mounting more pressure on Tehran.
He also called on Iran to fully resume its nuclear commitments as per the JCPOA and proposed that the deal's signatories hold consultations in this regard as soon as possible so as to start the process of US returning to the agreement.
The Chinese foreign minister said disputes related to the JCPOA fulfillment should be resolved fairly and objectively, adding that dialogue and cooperation are needed to support the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its verification of Iran's nuclear activities and handle properly the UN Security Council's concerns about the issue.
Emphasizing that the JCPAO cannot solve all problems, he warned that linking regional security issues directly to the accord is setting a self-imposed roadblock in the process of restoring the deal's implementation.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the US should not put forward any preconditions for its return to the JCPOA.
"We believe that the US return to the JCPOA should be without any preconditions. Our partners and we are ready for meaningful work in this area, and we are ready to help the Americans to step on the path of correction. This is in our shared interest," Lavrov added.
Lavrov said Russia has taken note of Iran’s statements, which assert that the country is ready to return to full adherence to the JCPOA as soon as the US does the same.
"We hope that not only the current members of the JCPOA, but Washington as well, take note of this signal. Strict adherence to the UN Security Council Resolution 2231 by the American side is not a matter of choice, it is an obligation of any state stipulated in Article 25 of the UN Charter," the Russian foreign minister stated.