Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting, Zarif said that Takht-Ravanchi has been in Tehran in the past three weeks and Le Figaro’s claim about him is not true.
“It’s interesting that Le Figaro’s reporter has not checked to see that Mr. Takht Ravanchi had been in Iran in that period and has been kept in quarantine for one week after going back to New York,” the foreign minister said as reported by Mehr News Agency.
In a report on Tuesday, Le Figaro claimed that Iran and the new US administration have quietly held talks for the past three weeks to prepare for a return of the US to the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The nuclear was signed in 2015 between Iran and world major powers (US, Russia, Britain, France, China and Germany). In 2018, the US, defying the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2231 that enshrined the nuclear agreement, unilaterally withdrew from JCPOA with an executive order by the then president Donald Trump who led a campaign of "maximum pressure". Trump reimposed Washington’s unilateral economic sanctions on Tehran that mainly targeted Iran’s oil and banking sectors. The restrictions have caused serious problems for the country to buy the medicine it needed, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Since 2019, Tehran has suspended its compliance with most of the limits set by the agreement in response to Washington's abandonment of sanctions relief and the failure of the other parties to make up for it.
Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, who took oath as the 46th president of the United States earlier on Wednesday, has signaled a willingness to return to JCPOA and hold talks with Iran. Tehran has repeatedly called on Washington to lift sanctions first and respect its own obligations under the agreement.
Iran has to effectively feel the results of any potential sanctions relief by the United States instead of only being served with a toothless signature in case Washington returned to its obligations under the 2015 nuclear agreement, Zarif said on January 14 referring to preconditions of US return to the JCPOA.
“Although, signing [it] is the necessary condition, the sufficient condition here is witnessing the effects of the US actions,” Zarif stressed.
President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday commented on the end of Trump’s presidency at the White House, calling him a “tyrant” whose era came to an end.
President Rouhani stressed, “The ball is in America’s court” now to return to a landmark nuclear deal and lift sanctions on Iran.