Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Tuesday Iran is ready to roll back its countermeasures taken in response to the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal if the United States returns to full compliance with the multilateral accord verifiably.
“If others return to their commitments and [the return] is verified, we too are ready to stop our remedial actions,” Amir-Abdollahian told EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell in New York City on the sidelines of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly.
Former US president Donald Trump walked out the landmark agreement signed between Iran and world powers – the US, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia – and reimposed and reinforced sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
After exercising “strategic patience” for one year, Tehran began to shed some of its obligations to the deal, known as the JCPOA, in a phased fashion in retaliation to the US pullout and the European trio’s inaction to protect Iran against the sanctions.
US President Joe Biden has voiced willingness to reenter the pact but has so far refused to remove any of the sanctions his predecessor imposed on Iran.
Amir-Abdollahian said a US return to its JCPOA commitments should not a “difficult job”.
“It wound not a difficult job for the Americans to live up to their obligations under the JCPOA and for the three European countries to end their inaction,” he pointed out.
The top diplomat took a swipe at the Biden administration for refusing to lift Trump-era sanctions, saying the current US president is following in its predecessor’s footsteps by keeping sanctions on Iran in place.
“Biden, despite verbally criticizing Trump's policies, has in practice pursued the same policies toward Iran.”
Amir-Abdollahian described such behavior as “non-constructive”.
“All parties should know that JCPOA must have tangible results for Iran, and need to see the lifting of illegal sanctions in practice,” he stressed.
Amir-Abdollahian also announced that Iran will resume talks in Vienna aimed at resuscitating the US-scrapped nuclear agreement.
“As mentioned earlier, we are seriously reviewing the negotiations’ records and the new administration will resume the talks,” he said.
Amir-Abdollahian said the government of President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi is “pragmatic” within the framework of its principles and would seek a practical outcome through the Vienna format.
“Our criterion is the action of the other parties and not their words,” he stressed.
Iran and the remaining JCPOA parties have met several times in Vienna since April to bring back the US in compliance with the deal.
Earlier on Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh, who is also in New York, said the Vienna talks will resume in the coming weeks.
Borrell: JCPOA’s success ‘very important’
Borrell said the JCPOA’s success is very important not just for Iran and the other parties, but for the region and the entire world as well.
The JCPOA’s failure is not good for any party, he stressed.
He also explained that the European Union, which is the coordinator of the JCPOA, has time and again criticized Trump’s destructive policy of exiting the deal, but the new US administration has created a new opportunity in reviving the deal, Press TV wrote.
Borrell said Washington’s responsibility with regard to creating the current situation is clear, but at the same time, all sides should cooperate in order to reach an agreement acceptable to all parties.
The first step, according to the EU foreign policy chief, is to set a timeline for the next round of the Vienna talks.
Amir-Abdollahian also met with his German counterpart Heiko Maas on Tuesday and stressed the necessity of engaging in “result-oriented” talks.
“The Iranian people rightly expect that the economic benefits of the JCPOA, which have not been realized due to the negligence of the other parties, would be guaranteed this time,” he said.
The Iranian foreign minister made it clear that the Americans need to understand that the Vienna talks are not intended for a new agreement, but rather, for making sure that the US fully returns to the JCPOA and honors its commitments under the deal and under UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
“Unfortunately, what we see in the policies of the current US administration is the continuation of the Trump administration’s approach of imposing illegal sanctions [on Iran],” he added.
Amir-Abdollahian also voiced the Raeisi administration’s seriousness in implementing the Iranian Parliament’s December legislation on reducing Iran’s nuclear commitments under the JCPOA, saying Europe’s different pretexts for not fulfilling its obligations are unacceptable.
The other side should come to Vienna with necessary flexibility and understanding with regard to the new circumstances arising from the change of administration in Iran, he added.
Maas said Berlin is committed to the JCPOA and will do its utmost to maintain and revive the landmark agreement.
He welcomed Iran’s agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) during IAEA chief Rafael Grossi’s visit to Tehran and underlined the need for all sides to strive for the success of the Vienna negotiations.
Both sides also said the Tehran-Berlin ties should expand.
Prior to his meeting with Amir-Abdollahian, Maas said that time was running out for diplomatic efforts to rescue the nuclear deal.
In yet another bilateral meeting in New York, Amir-Abdollahian met his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg to discuss bilateral and international issues.
During the meeting, Amir-Abdollahian stressed Iran’s resolve to have balanced relations with Europe, saying, “Europe-Iran relations must not be subject to the US’s unconstructive behavior and attitude toward Iran.”
He said the Raeisi administration is ready to improve the country’s relations with Austria to the highest level, particularly its monetary and economic relations.
He also thanked Schallenberg for providing Iran with coronavirus vaccines.
Schallenberg said for his part that his country remains interested in hosting the negotiations to revive the JCPOA.
He noted that Iran’s close cooperation with the IAEA would prevent mischievous acts by bad actors with the aim of destroying the talks.
He also said there is no ceiling with regard to promoting relations between Tehran and Vienna.
‘Americans do not act sincerely’
In a meeting with Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis, Amir-Abdollahian said the US has no choice but to fully reconsider its approach and behavior toward Iran.
“Both the American and the European sides should show the necessary flexibility so that the upcoming talks would lead to tangible outcomes,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the Americans have not acted sincerely and do not do so in the nuclear talks,” he added.
Amir-Abdollahian also expressed Iran’s willingness to expand its relations with Switzerland to witness the presence of Swiss companies in economic projects in Iran.
Cassis also said Bern attaches great importance to its ties with Tehran and is ready to expand the bilateral relations in various fields.
He said Switzerland is ready for any kind of cooperation necessary for better and more use of the Swiss financial humanitarian channel to supply Iran with necessary products.