‘Talks with Washington impossible unless Trump returns to nuclear deal’

July 1, 2019

TEHRAN – Any negotiations between Tehran and Washington would not be possible unless U.S. President Donald Trump goes back to the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran’s ambassador to the UN has said.

“The first thing the U.S. should do is to go back to the negotiating table”, Majid Takht-Ravanchi told Fareed Zakaria’s GPS aired by CNN on Sunday evening.

“They left the negotiating table while the other members of the international community were talking to Iran about the nuclear issue. All of a sudden, the U.S. decided to withdraw and the whole problem, the whole mess that we are seeing around ourselves is geared to that decision,” Takht-Ravanchi observed.

“You compare the situation in early 2018 - before U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal - to what we have today: it’s a totally different story. So all the things started with that decision. In order to make things going back to normal, that decision has to be reversed,” he noted.

Takht-Ravanchi also ruled out the possibility of talks as long as the U.S. keeps threatening Iran. “Talks and threats are mutually exclusive. We cannot start a dialogue with somebody while he/she is trying to intimidate and frighten you, is trying to impose sanctions on you. Coercion and intimidation do not go well with dialogue.”

Therefore, he added, “as long as threats are there, as long as intimidation and coercion are there, I think we do not consider any offer of a dialogue as a genuine and production one.”

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on June 26 dismissed America’s claim about seeking talks with Tehran as a “deception,” saying such an offer is merely aimed at stripping the Iranian nation of its “elements of power.”

Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks after U.S. officials expressed numerous offers of negotiations amid a campaign of “maximum pressure” against the Iranian nation.

The Iranian envoy made the remarks in reaction to the U.S. administration’s repeated calls for “unconditional” talks with Tehran. The offer of talks, however, has been made at the same time as the U.S. increases its pressures against Iran, threatening the country on a daily basis.

In his CNN interview, Takht-Ravanchi also pointed to the negative impact of the U.S. pressures on the Iranian people, but stressed that the country is still capable of sustaining the pressure.

“We have already faced difficult situation during the Iran-Iraq war - the eight-year war imposed by Iraq on Iran; we managed to survive and we did, and I’m sure that we can. It is true the economic sanctions are putting pressure on the Iranian people, that is a fact. But that does not mean that we can succumb to pressure,” he noted.

Europe must hurry up

Takht-Ravanchi further referred to Europe’s efforts to save the Iran nuclear deal, and said they must hurry up and fulfill their commitments before Iran’s July 8 deadline; otherwise Tehran will implement the “second phase” of scaling down its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Iran notified parties to the JCPOA on May 8 that it will resume its uranium enrichment if they fail to come up with a practical solution to keep it functioning.

Iran has specifically been critical of a financial mechanism launched by Britain, France and Germany to circumvent US sanctions on Iran, saying the initiative, known as Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), has failed to defuse U.S. restrictions on trade with Iran.

Under INSTEX, which is exclusive to European businesses, exports to Iran should be compensated by imports from the country. A mirror company in Iran would carry out the same transactions for Iranian companies exporting to and importing from Europe.

However, the mechanism has effectively failed to revive bilateral trade mainly due to a lack of advance funds that could offset the initial exports to Iran.

In his Sunday comments, Takht-Ravanchi said the establishment of the mechanism per se is not sufficient and cannot solve any problem. “They should put money in it.”

SP/

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