Biden pursues Trump’s policy against Iran: Foreign Ministry 

March 8, 2021 - 20:21

TEHRAN – The new U.S. administration of Joe Biden pursues the same policy that the Trump administration pursued against Iran, Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday. 

Speaking at a weekly press conference, Khatibzadeh said, “For several years, the United States has been driving in the wrong direction on the highway, thinking that others who are on the right path are going wrong. The sooner the United States realizes the right direction of the highway, the better for the international community and multilateralism.”

The spokesman said the U.S. should change its path, fully implement its commitments, and lift sanctions, which he described as “crime.”

“The United States must know that the people of Iran will never forget the current U.S. crimes,” Khatibzadeh said, adding, “Up until today, the Biden administration has pursued exactly the path of the Trump administration.”

He also suggested that Iran will not meet with the U.S. so long as the Biden administration continues to implement the Trump administration’s pressure campaign against Iran. 

"If a meeting were to take place, it would certainly have happened with Trump’s better funambulism,” Khatibzadeh noted, calling on the Biden administration to change tack, effectively implement its commitment and then talk about being a member of the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

He also said there were no contacts between Tehran and Washington about the nuclear deal.

“We have not had and don’t have any direct or indirect contact with the United States on the JCPOA or non-JCPOA issues,” the spokesman said. 

But he said that Iran is holding “very sensitive” talks with the JCPOA parties. 

“What is going on in this area about the JCPOA is very sensitive. We have very close talks with the remaining parties in the JCPOA, but we did not have talks with the United States,” Khatibzadeh pointed out. 

He was responding to what Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif meant by his latest tweet that Iran is preparing a “concrete plan of action” on the nuclear deal.

“Iranian polity is vibrant & officials express diverse opinions. But those opinions should NOT be confused with state policy. As Iran's FM & chief nuclear negotiator, I will shortly present our constructive concrete plan of action—through proper diplomatic channels,” Zarif said in a tweet on Friday. 

According to Khatibzadeh, some deliberations about the JCPOA are going on in Iran and will be completed soon. 

“Inside Iran, some points are being reviewed and completed. Zarif's tweet was in the same direction. Let the media allow this sensitive issue to move forward in its context, and the media will be informed when the outcome is reached,” Khatibzadeh remarked. 

Earlier on Sunday, Zarif and his Irish counterpart Simon Coveney discussed issues of mutual interest in bilateral, regional and international affairs as well as the 2015 nuclear deal.

The two sides emphasized the necessity of continuing political consultations as well as economic exchanges, according to a statement issued by the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

The top Irish diplomat underlined that as arranged, Ireland’s embassy will gradually reopen in Tehran.

The two top diplomats also exchanged views on the JCPOA. 

The Iranian foreign minister reiterated Tehran’s principled policy on the need for the removal of illegal U.S. sanctions fully and effectively as a step that would, in turn, see Iran reverse the measures it has adopted to scale down its obligations under the JCPOA.

Coveney, for his part, said Ireland stands ready to facilitate the process as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and a facilitator of the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 2231 and as a member of the European Union.

Among other topics discussed was ways of helping ease regional tensions where the two sides discussed developments in the Persian Gulf, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, occupied Palestine, Afghanistan and the Caucasus.

The Irish foreign minister also met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. During the meeting, Rouhani announced Iran's readiness to cooperate with international institutions to resolve regional crises, and stressed, “The best way to resolve problems with European partners at various bilateral, regional and international levels is negotiation based on mutual respect and the avoidance of any threat or pressure.”

Referring to the failure of illegal sanctions and the maximum pressure of the United States against the Iranian people and the admittance of the new administration on this issue, Rouhani said, “The activation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as a multilateral international agreement, is subject to the lifting of sanctions by the United States and the full observance of commitments by all members,” according to a statement issued by the Iranian presidency.

Criticizing the inaction of Europe towards their commitments under the JCPOA, the president added, “The Islamic Republic of Iran is committed to the deal and its preservation, and is the only party that has paid for it, but this cannot continue this way, and full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 by all members is essential for maintaining and reviving the JCPOA.”

Referring to Iran's move to suspend the implementation of the Additional Protocol based on the resolution of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (parliament), Rouhani stressed, “Despite the suspension of the implementation of the Additional Protocol, Iran is still determined to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency.”

The President continued, “Iran is ready to take immediate compensatory measures in accordance with the provisions of the JCPOA and fulfill its obligations after the lifting of illegal U.S. sanctions and their abandonment of the policy of intimidation and pressure.”

Rouhani also called for the development and deepening of Tehran-Dublin relations in all fields, especially economic and trade relations, and stressed the use of all existing capacities in this field, stating, “The two countries have a lot of untapped capacities in all dimensions that we should attempt to tap.”

During the same meeting, the foreign minister of Ireland referred to his country's role as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the next two years and the role of facilitating the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, saying, “Trump's withdrawal from the deal was a historic mistake and the new U.S. administration is determined to return to the deal.”

Underlining that Dublin values the JCPOA as an international agreement for peace, Foreign Minister Coveney added, “We will do our best to maintain the JCPOA and we are ready to play any role that can help improve the situation and resume talks between all JCPOA members.”

Referring to the changes in the U.S. administration and the desire of the country's statesmen to return to the JCPOA, the Irish foreign minister said, “With the new conditions, there is a good opportunity for negotiation and dialogue, which should be used to require all members to implement the deal.”

Prior to securing a seat on the UN Security Council in early January, Ireland had said it will work to preserve the JCPOA, vowing to do everything in its power to preserve the nuclear deal.

Ireland became a UN Security Council member from January 1 alongside Norway. Two weeks before Ireland took its seat on the Security Council, Geraldine Byrne Nason, Ireland’s permanent representative to the UN, told the Oireachtas foreign affairs committee that Ireland will work to preserve the Iran nuclear deal.

“One key area we will watch very carefully will be Iran, and the future of the JCPOA nuclear deal, in the context of possible U.S. re-engagement,” Nason said, adding that 2021 is “likely to be a critical year and a difficult year for the Iran nuclear deal,” given Iran’s next presidential election.

“The window for both sides to re-engage is narrowing,” she continued.

Nason vowed that Ireland will work at the UN body to ensure the survival of the JCPOA.

“As an EU country, Ireland will, of course, do everything it can at the Security Council to preserve the JCPOA agreement,” she pointed out, noting that Ireland sees the JCPOA as a major diplomatic achievement and the best way to constrain Iran’s nuclear program and to help bring peace to the region.

Nason stated, “Our long history of support for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation allows us to play an impartial but principled role in the Council’s role on this issue.”

The European signatories to the JCPOA have called for a meeting between Iran and the U.S. within the framework of the P5+1. But has Iran said the U.S. must lift sanctions before any such meeting can take place.


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