Ali Baqeri-Kani, the Iranian deputy foreign minister for political affairs, made the remarks in an interview with Iran’s Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) News Agency on Wednesday, one day after France said the talks with Iran must resume where they left off, according to Press TV.
In a telephone conversation with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said it was urgent to resume “the negotiations interrupted on June 20 by Iran, on the basis negotiated up to that date, with the objective of a rapid return [to the accord]”, according to a ministry spokesperson.
In response, Baqeri-Kani stressed, “We do not have nuclear talks, because the nuclear issue was resolved in 2015 in the form of an agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1,” namely the US, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China.
“The main issue we are facing now is the consequences of the US withdrawal from the JCPOA, which are limited to the illegal sanctions imposed against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he added.
Envoys from Iran and the P4+1 group of countries – Britain, France, Russia, and China, plus Germany – are expected to hold the seventh round of talks in the Austrian capital on November 29.
The negotiations were paused in June, when Iran held a presidential election. Since then, the new Iranian administration has been reviewing the details of the six rounds of talks held under the previous administration.
Former US president Donald Trump left the JCPOA in May 2018 and reimposed the anti-Iran sanctions that had been lifted under the deal. He also placed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of his “maximum pressure” campaign.
Following a year of strategic patience, Iran resorted to its legal rights under the JCPOA, which grants a party the right to suspend its contractual commitments in case of noncompliance by other signatories, and let go of some of the restrictions imposed on its nuclear energy program.
US President Joe Biden’s administration has said it is willing to compensate for Trump’s mistake and rejoin the deal, but it has shown an overriding propensity for maintaining the sanctions as a tool of pressure.
Tehran insists that all sanctions should first be removed in a verifiable manner before it reverses its remedial measures.
On Tuesday, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator traveled to Paris as part of a tour to the capitals of France, Germany and Britain, the three European parties to the JCPOA.
In Paris, he held a meeting with Philippe Errera, the director general for political and security affairs at France’s Foreign Ministry.
In his Wednesday interview, Baqeri-Kani described as “detailed, frank, serious, constructive and forward-looking” his talks with Errera, whose country will hold the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2022.
He said France could play a transnational role, noting, “In this regard, I think there is a very good opportunity to improve relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and France, as well as France’s role in regional interactions and the course of the talks that we will have with the P4+1 in Vienna on November 29.”
Sullivan statement slammed
In a Tuesday tweet, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh dismissed the latest claim by US national security adviser Jake Sullivan about the side that has withdrawn from the JCPOA, setting conditions for Washington’s return to the deal.
He said Sullivan had claimed that Iran had left the nuclear deal, casting doubt if the US official is “unaware” that it was Washington that pulled out of the agreement three years after its conclusion.
Khatibzadeh added the path for the US return to the landmark nuclear deal is clear and set three conditions for Washington in this regard.
“Admission of culpability, end to its ‘max failure’ campaign & guarantee that int’l law won’t be mocked again. JCPOA fundamentally dictates these basic expectations,” the Iranian spokesman noted.
On Sunday, the US national security adviser said in an interview on CNN that Iran has not shown willingness to fully comply with the JCPOA “despite us working closely with our allies and partners to create the negotiating circumstances for that happening”.