Zarif made the remarks in a phone call with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Saturday, which was made on the British side's demand, referring to the planned meeting between the remaining parties to the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with the aim of reviving the deal three years after the United States unilaterally withdrew from it.
Senior officials from Iran, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China will attend the JCPOA Joint Commission on Tuesday in what appears to be the first serious push to reinvigorate the deal since January 20, when Joe Biden was sworn in as the new president of the United States, Press TV wrote on Sunday.
Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, adopted a policy of “maximum pressure” against Tehran after the withdrawal, escalating tensions with Iran and drawing strong criticism from the other signatories of the accord.
Iran was patient for one year. But with no palpable shift in circumstances, Tehran began a gradual process of reducing its nuclear undertakings. The decision was taken as Iran’s right under Article 36 of the JCPOA.
During the Saturday phone call, Zarif underlined the need for the United States to fully lift the illegal and unfair sanctions against Iran in a “verifiable” manner, adding, “Only then we will return to our commitments”.
Raab said Britain will work for a fruitful new round of talks.
On Saturday, Zarif said he had also held a phone call with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian during which he called on Paris to live up to the JCPOA obligations and stop adhering to the US sanctions.
“I urged France to show a constructive stance on the JCPOA in next week’s meeting in Vienna,” Zarif told Le Drian.
"I called on France to honor its commitments under the accord, and to cease abiding by illegal sanctions imposed by the US," Zarif tweeted.
Following the call, Le Drian said in a statement that he had asked Iran to refrain from further steps away from its current nuclear commitments to aid discussions, according to Reuters.
“I encouraged Iran to be constructive in the discussions that are set to take place,” Le Drian said. “They are meant to help identify in the coming weeks the steps that will be needed in order to return to full compliance with the nuclear deal.”
The Vienna meeting was scheduled during a virtual session of the JCPOA Joint Commission led by the European Union on Friday.
At the same time, the US administration is sending a team of diplomats to Vienna. Washington also reportedly appointed its special envoy for Iran Robert Malley to head its team there.
While Iranian and American diplomats are not expected to meet face to face on Tuesday, the Biden administration has not been disinclined to hold direct and indirect talks with the Iranian side.
Iran rejects the notion of holding talks with the US before the White House returns to compliance with the JCPOA. On Sunday, Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araqchi emphasized that the two sides would have no direct or indirect talks in the Austrian capital.
“We will have no talks, whether direct or indirect, with the Americans in Vienna. We will negotiate with the Joint Commission and the P4+1 and pronounce our condition for the [US] return to the JCPOA. Our demand is that the US must first fulfill all its obligations and remove all the sanctions it has imposed, then we will verify and return” to the point where Iran had not taken the remedial measures yet, Araqchi said.
The diplomat said he “will not hesitate in carrying out our mission to ensure the national interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the lifting of sanctions”.