The spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry said achieving a temporary agreement on how to revive Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers has never been on the agenda of the ongoing talks between Tehran and other signatories to the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Saeed Khatibzadeh made the remarks in an online Q&A session on Thursday, when asked about the main topics under discussion during JCPOA negotiations, which took place in the Austrian capital, Vienna.
“There has never been a discussion on a temporary agreement, but what has been discussed is full compliance of the United States with the JCPOA, the method used to verify [US compliance] and then retracting Iran’s remedial steps on the JCPOA,” he said, according to Press TV.
Khatibzadeh added that there are still many differences on important issues, including the order of steps that must be taken, removal of all sanctions and verification of measures taken, but “I think that all parties have shown enough goodwill to move forward in Vienna”.
Asked whether participants in Vienna talks are compiling a new agreement parallel to the original one, he said: “The JCPOA was negotiated once and no new talks will be held on its contents.”
He then added that a main concern not only for Iran, but also for other signatories to the JCPOA, is how to make sure that the United States will not breach any future promises.
“This is a concern not only for Iran, but for the entire P4+1, because when the US left the JCPOA, it not only pressured Iran, but also mounted pressure on European countries to end their presence in Iran. Therefore, all parties are now seeking guarantees” that this will not happen again, Khatibzadeh said.
The spokesman emphasized that the background of US breaching its commitments has made verification of the utmost importance and “it is quite natural for Iran to want to painstakingly verify measures taken by the US”.
“This is why we emphasize that it is them (American) who must return to full [JCPOA] compliance first. We must verify this and make sure that they are not playing with words and will not try to undermine Iran’s foreign relations and trade,” Khatibzadeh added.
He further stated that just in the same way that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has stressed the importance of objective verification of Iran’s measures, Iran for its part, will not accept that sanctions would be removed only on paper.
“Therefore, Iran wants to verify the removal of sanctions in practice and see that sanctions have been really removed in various fields, including financial transactions, banking, oil sale, insurance, transportation and any other area related to the US commitments.”
The Foreign Ministry spokesman further noted that “Iran is in no hurry in [Vienna] negotiations, but at the same time, does not want to get involved in lengthy and attritional talks”.
US list for sanctions removal
A senior US official said Washington has shared with Tehran details of sanctions it is prepared to lift under a return to the JCPOA.
“We have provided Iran with a number of examples of the kind of sanctions that we believe we would need to lift in order to come back into compliance and the sanctions that we believe we would not need to lift,” the US official told reporters, Al Jazeera wrote on Thursday.
The official added that the US, through intermediaries, presented Iran with three baskets of sanctions: Those it is prepared to lift, those it is not prepared to lift and those that will require further study to determine if they are in fact appropriate for relief under the nuclear deal.
The third category constitutes “difficult cases”, including sanctions appeared to impose during the administration of former president Donald Trump “purely for the purpose of preventing” President Joe Biden from reentering the deal, the official said.
Iran maintains that it pursues the full removal of all the old sanctions that were promised to be lifted under the JCPOA but were reimposed by the Trump administration, the new sanctions that were imposed under Trump as well as those that his hawkish administration relabeled and reimposed on the Islamic Republic.