Saudi Arabia has nothing to do with JCPOA: senior MP

January 31, 2021 - 22:3

TEHRAN - Abolfazl Amouei, the spokesman for the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, has responded to a French call to include Saudi Arabia in any future talks with Iran about the nuclear issue by saying that there are no links between Riyadh and the issue.

“Saudi Arabia has nothing to do with the nuclear agreement,” Amouei told the Qatari-owned Al Arabi Al Jadid newspaper, declaring his country’s refusal to include Riyadh in any possible talks with the parties to the nuclear agreement reached with Iran in 2015.

He stressed, “The Islamic Republic will not negotiate again about this agreement.”

According to Amouei, Riyadh did not have a place in the nuclear negotiations and that it has nothing to do with the issues related to the nuclear agreement between Iran and major world powers, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

However, the lawmaker expressed Iran’s readiness to hold talks with Saudi Arabia. Tehran is “ready for a dialogue with Saudi Arabia if it so desires, whether bilaterally or with the neighboring Arab countries,” Amouei noted.
 
The spokesman of the parliamentary committee reiterated this position in a separate interview with Al Jazeera TV, saying Iran is in dialogue with its neighbors, not with the United States. He considered that regional issues are one thing and the nuclear agreement is another.

“With respect to the conversation between Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other regional countries, we believe that talking between neighbors is a normal issue, and has nothing to do with the Iranian nuclear agreement. The nuclear agreement is an issue that has ended, while regional issues are another issue,” Amouei said.

Regarding the nuclear agreement, the lawmaker pointed out that there is no need for new members to join the JCPOA, but he indicated that if any party wants to join the nuclear agreement, they must accept the agreement first, adding that “there is no chance for Saudi Arabia to join the agreement, and we do not accept talking about our defense policies with anyone.”

The comments come after French President Emmanuel Macron demanded that Saudi Arabia be involved in any new negotiations with Iran about the 2015 nuclear deal.

“Dialogue with Iran will be rigorous, and they will need to include our allies in the region for a nuclear deal, and this includes Saudi Arabia,” Macron told Al Arabiya on Friday while speaking to reporters in Paris.

The French President also noted that there needed to be trust and confidence with Saudi Arabia, and “they need to be included in any [potential] agreement with Iran.” Macron went so far as to say that it was necessary to refrain from making the same mistakes made in 2015 when the first Iran nuclear deal was signed, one of which was distancing regional powers from the JCPOA.

France did not refute the controversial remarks, which were carried by Saudi media outlets, a move that elicited a strong response from Iran.

Saeed Khatibzadeh, the spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, put out a statement dismissing the French president's recent remarks about the need for a new nuclear deal with Tehran. He called on Macron to “exercise self-restraint and refrain from hasty and ill-advised stances.”

“The JCPOA is a multilateral international agreement that has been endorsed and stabilized by the (UN) Security Council Resolution 2231. It is by no means re-negotiable, and its parties are also definite and unchangeable,” Khatibzadeh noted.

Pointing to the U.S.’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal and Europe’s failure to maintain it, the spokesman said, “If there is any willingness to revive and save the JCPOA, the solution is easy. The U.S. should return to the JCPOA and lift the whole JCPOA and non-JCPOA sanctions that have been imposed (on Iran) during the tenure of the previous president of that country.”

“If the French officials are worried about the huge arms sales to the Persian Gulf Arab states, they had better revise their policies,” he continued.

“The French arms, along with other Western weapons, have not only massacred and killed thousands of Yemenis but are also the main reason behind instability in the Persian Gulf region. Without a halt to the flood of arms exports from France, the UK, the U.S. and others, one cannot expect stability and calm in this delicate region,” Khatibzadeh remarked.

 “U.S. and Europe must make the first move to revive the JCPOA”

MP Amouei also addressed the issue of holding negotiations with the new U.S. administration, saying the U.S. and Europe must make the first move to revive the JCPOA.

Amouei added that Iran “has implemented all of its commitments stipulated in the nuclear agreement, and the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed this commitment in 15 reports,” noting that it “began to reduce its commitments based on Article 36 of the nuclear agreement in response to America's breach of its obligations through the illegal American withdrawal from the nuclear deal and Europe’s failure to implement its 11 commitments.”

He said that the European position after Washington's withdrawal from the agreement “was frustrating to Iran,” stressing that “if the West wants to preserve the previous nuclear agreement, it must first effectively implement its commitments.”

The Iranian lawmaker underlined that “the Islamic Republic of Iran will not negotiate again on the nuclear agreement,” noting that “we are not willing to conduct bilateral negotiations with America due to its negative precedents in this regard and lack of confidence in it.”

Regarding Iran's strategy to tackle the current situation, he said that “the priority is to thwart U.S. sanctions,” adding that “four years of Trump's maximum pressure policy have not made any change in the policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Amouei stated that the Biden administration is weaker than the Trump administration because of its political problems, the economic crisis arising from the coronavirus pandemic as well as the repercussions of violent attack on Congress.

The lawmaker also touched upon the recent threats issued by Israel against Iran, saying that these threats were aimed at extracting more concessions from the Biden administration.

Underlining that Israelis are worried that they will lose their position in the Biden administration, Amouei said the Israelis are trying to maintain the privileges they obtained under Trump.

“The Zionists have exploited the Trump administration severely, and today they want, by raising this uproar, to preserve the special privileges they obtained under Trump,” Amouei noted.

Aviv Kochav, chief of staff of Israeli armed forces, has recently issued stark threats against Iran while railing against the nuclear deal.

He said that Israel is not welcoming the expected efforts by the U.S. and its European allies to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. The top Israeli general claimed that he had ordered several plans to launch offensive operations against Iran while voicing Israel’s opposition to any efforts to revive the JCPOA or even to improve it.

“I have instructed the IDF to prepare several operational plans in addition to existing ones, which we will develop throughout the coming year. The power to initiate them lies with the political echelon. However, the offensive options need to be prepared, ready and on the table,” Kochavi said in remarks delivered at the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies 14th Annual International Conference.

“I would like to clarify my position regarding the JCPOA: Even if an improved agreement is reached, it will be a bad agreement at the operational and strategic level. Therefore, such an agreement must not be enabled,” he continued.

MS/PA

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