JCPOA is the right framework for dialogue, Araqchi says

January 23, 2021 - 15:50

TEHRAN - Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for political affairs, says Tehran has no interest to make direct contact with the U.S., saying that the JCPOA is the right framework for dialogue.

Araqchi, a senior nuclear negotiator, also refutes a renegotiation of the JCPOA, the official name for the 2015 nuclear deal, insisting that “there will be no JCPOA plus, no new agreement, and no new negotiations about the JCPOA.”

In a recent interview with La Repubblica, an Italian newspaper, he said: "Currently, we have no interest in any direct contact with the United States and we think that the JCPOA is the right framework and the talks should be conducted in that framework."

In response to the question on how Iran sees the transfer of power from the Trump administration to the Biden administration, he said, “We do not have a specific position against the transfer of power between the two governments. We are just waiting to see how the new U.S. president wants to correct Trump's wrong decision.” 

Answering the question concerning Iran’s demands from the Biden administration, Araghchi said, “Iran's demand is realistic and the U.S. needs to lift sanctions and return to the nuclear deal. I see no other alternative. We negotiated in good faith and acted in good faith toward the JCPOA. It is the turn of the new U.S. administration to make up for the mistakes of the previous administration. To return to the nuclear deal, they must lift all sanctions. We are ready to meet all of our obligations under the JCPOA if Americans meet their commitments and lift the sanctions.” 

Some regional and European countries are pressing the Biden administration to include Iran’s missile program and its regional influence in the nuclear agreement. Writing an op-ed in the CNN in mid-September during the presidential campaigns, Biden expressed willingness to rejoin the JCPOA and then start “follow-on” negotiations. Biden’s picks for secretary of state and national security advisor have also nodded to include Iran’s missile program and regional influence in the negotiations.

However, Iran has been insisting that negotiations on its missile program is out of the question, especially as the West is arming the regional countries with highly sophisticated weapons.

“There will be no JCPOA plus, no new agreement, and no new negotiations about the JCPOA. Iranian missiles are the only reliable defense tool for Iran, and there is no negotiation on this issue. On other issues, it all depends on how the JCPOA will be implemented. Regarding the security of the Persian Gulf, this is an issue that can be the subject of dialogue between the countries of the region without foreign interference. Regional security can be discussed collectively,” Araqchi explained.

Hossein Askari, a professor of the George Washington University, says Iran’s “missiles should be non-negotiable.”

Talking to the Tehran Times, Askari says, “In response to other demands that the U.S. is likely to make, Iran must be firm. Everything is on the table as long as there is acceptable reciprocity. Yes, eliminate all missiles as long as all nations in the region do the same, the U.S. withdraws all its forces, and most important, Israel destroys all its nuclear warheads.” 

Araqchi also said the violent attack on the Capitol building and Trump’s refusal to accept the result of the elections despite failing to present any evidence of vote fraud suggests that Washington no long has the right to lecture other countries about democracy.
  
“What happened in Washington shows us the true face of American democracy. It is now clear that they have no right to tell anyone in the world how to solve political problems at home.”


EE/PA
 

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