Zarif says lifting sanctions has been Iran’s condition for talks

September 29, 2019

TEHRAN – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday that removal of sanctions was Iran’s condition for President Hassan Rouhani’s talks with leaders of the 5+1 group.

“Our condition for Mr. Rouhani’s talks with heads of state of the 5+1 group, and not just between Mr. Rouhani and Mr. Trump, was removal of sanctions,” he told reporters.

However, Zarif said, Trump was willing to first hold talks with Rouhani and then possibly remove sanctions.

“Rather he (Trump) was willing that the meeting take place and then said there was a possibility that the sanctions would be removed after this meeting.”
 
“We have always announced that if the United States wants to hold talks with the Islamic Republic, it should return to its commitments and stop sanctions,” he said.

Iran has been insisting that the only path to negotiations between Tehran and Washington is that the United States must lift all the sanctions that it has illegally and unilaterally imposed on Iran.

In an interview with Fox News aired on Tuesday, Rouhani said if the U.S. administration is really seeking dialogue with Iran “it must create the needed conditions.”

In May 2018, President Donald Trump abandoned the nuclear deal and returned the previous sanctions and imposed new harsh ones.

Zarif says he held talks with a number of Congressmen

Zarif also said that he held phone conversations with a number of Congress members while he was in New York to attend the 74th UN General Assembly.

“We have made no request from members of the Congress. We also do not interfere in the United States’ internal affairs. The talks we have held so far were upon the request of the other side. These talks were held to present real image of Iran and not to make a request,” he staed.

‘Operation of INSTEX depends on Europeans’

Zarif also said it depends on the Europeans that INSTEX becomes operational.

“Destiny of INSTEX depends on the Europeans to reach a conclusion that they cannot wait for the United States’ permission for everything,” he said.

INSTEX is a special-purpose vehicle established in January 2019 by France, Germany and the United Kingdom to facilitate non-dollar trade with Iran in a bid to bypass the U.S. sanctions.

So far, INSTEX has not become operational despite intense efforts on all sides.

Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran’s permanent representative to the United Nations, has likened INSTEX to a “beautiful car without gasoline”.

“The current situation of INSTEX does not suffice. This mechanism without money is like a beautiful car without gasoline,” he told reporters on June 29.

NA/PA

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