Iran urges U.S. to lift all sanctions

February 19, 2021 - 20:8

TEHRAN – Iran has called on the United States and Europe to put an end to U.S. sanctions and return to compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Friday that the U.S. should lift all sanctions if it wants Iran to reverse its nuclear measures.

“U.S. acknowledged Pompeo’s claims regarding Resolution 2231 had no legal validity. We agree. In compliance with 2231: U.S. unconditionally & effectively lift all sanctions imposed, re-imposed or re-labeled by Trump. We will then immediately reverse all remedial measures. Simple: #CommitActMeet,” Zarif said in a tweet on Friday.

The tweet came after the Biden administration a rescinded former President Donald Trump's restoration of all U.N. sanctions on Iran.

Acting U.S. Ambassador Richard Mills sent a letter to the UN Security Council on behalf of President Joe Biden informing the 15-member body of the U.S. decision to rescind the Trump administration’s assertion that all UN sanctions had been reimposed on Iran in September.

On September 19, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took a measure that sent diplomatic shock waves across the world. In a statement on that day, Pompeo announced the return of “all previously terminated UN sanctions” on Iran, a highly controversial measure that was met with global backlash from U.S. friends or foes alike.

“Today, the United States welcomes the return of virtually all previously terminated UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran…. Sanctions are being re-imposed on Iran pursuant to the snapback process under UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 2231,” the statement said.

All parties to the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), opposed the U.S. measure, saying the White House had no legal right to reinstate the UN sanctions on Iran.

 “Our remedial measures are a response to US/E3 violations”

The Iranian foreign minister also responded to a European-American joint statement on Iran. He accused Westerners of pursuing sophistry and putting the onus on Iran.

“Instead of sophistry & putting onus on Iran, E3/EU must abide by own commitments & demand an end to Trump's legacy of #EconomicTerrorism against Iran. Our remedial measures are a response to US/E3 violations. Remove the cause if you fear the effect. We'll follow ACTION with action,” the chief Iranian diplomat said in a tweet on Thursday.

The top diplomats of France, Germany, the UK and the U.S. issued a joint statement regarding Iran on Thursday following a virtual meeting hosted by France.

“The E3 welcomed the United States’ stated intention to return to diplomacy with Iran as well as the resumption of a confident and in-depth dialogue between the E3 and the United States. The Ministers affirmed strong interest in continuing their consultations and coordination, including with China and Russia, on this key security issue, recognizing the role of the High Representative of the European Union as Coordinator of the Joint Commission,” the statement said, adding, “The E3 and the United States affirmed their shared objective of Iran’s return to full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA. Secretary Blinken reiterated that, as President Biden has said, if Iran comes back into strict compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA, the United States will do the same and is prepared to engage in discussions with Iran toward that end.”

The foreign ministers also called on Iran not to take any additional steps, in particular with respect to the suspension of the Additional Protocol and to any limitations on IAEA verification activities in Iran.

Iran has recently announced that it is going to stop implementing that the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a remarkable move in a series of nuclear measures mainly intended to make the West realize that Iran will not implement the JCPOA one-sidedly.

After years of calling on the JCPOA parties to implement their obligations, Iran gradually began reducing JCPOA commitments on the first anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal from the deal. In its latest move, Iran raised the uranium enrichment level to 20%. It also intends to stop implementing the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) on February 23.

Instead of ensuring Iran’s legitimate interests in the JCPOA, the Europeans joined the Biden administration in calling for new nuclear and non-nuclear negotiations with Iran, a move that dampened hopes of a quick revival of the JCPOA and prompted Iran to double down on its nuclear activities.

The Europeans, together with the Americans, once again said that they want to use the JCPOA as a starting point for new negotiations aimed at addressing other issues of concern.

“The E3 welcomed the prospect of a U.S. and Iranian return to compliance with the JCPOA. The E3 and the United States affirmed their determination to then strengthen the JCPOA and, together with regional parties and the wider international community, address broader security concerns related to Iran’s missile programs and regional activities. We are committed to working together toward these goals,” the Thursday statement noted.

But the Western reiteration that they want to misuse the JCPOA is unlikely to sit well with Iran. Because Tehran has said time and again that it will not renegotiate the nuclear deal, let alone expand it.

Iran will implement a nuclear law obligating the government to halt implementing the Additional Protocol on February 23, Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to international organizations in Vienna, said on Monday.

“Act of Parliament will be executed on time (23 Feb) and the IAEA has been informed today to ensure the smooth transition to a new course in due time. After all, goodwill brings about goodwill!” Ambassador Gharibabadi said in a tweet on Monday.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a recent telephone conversation with his Swiss counterpart Guy Parmelin that it’s up to the U.S. to make the first move toward reviving the JCPOA.

“The ball is in the U.S. court now. When it lifts illegal sanctions in practice, everything will return to the right path,” the Iranian president pointed out.

Rouhani reiterated the same position in another telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying that Europe should prove in practice that it wants to preserve the JCPOA.
President Rouhani stated that if Europe is really seeking to preserve the JCPOA and realize its goals it must prove it in practice. “The only way to protect the JCPOA is cancellation of inhuman U.S. sanctions,” he continued.

Noting that moves to include new issues in the JCPOA is something “impossible”, Rouhani told Merkel, “The JCPOA is a document approved by the (UN) Security Council and is the product of long years of efforts by Iran and six great countries in the world, and it has a definite framework that is unchangeable.”

SM/PA

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