Iran calls for verifiable lifting of sanctions: report

April 6, 2021 - 15:56

TEHRAN – Iran will accept nothing but a “verifiable” removal of U.S. sanctions, a source familiar with the matter told Press TV.

The report came as Iranian and U.S. delegations arrived in Vienna for resuming talks over the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“The United States has no other choice but to remove all anti-Iran sanctions in a verifiable way,” the informed source was quoted by Press TV as saying.

The source said Washington's response to Iran's unilateral commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is nothing but a unilateral move to remove all the sanctions.

“Tehran will not accept any outcome of the Vienna meeting other than the removal of all sanctions,” the source said on Monday night.

The source said the Iranian team's agenda in the Vienna talks is clear. “Iran will start its measures to return to JCPOA commitments only after the removal of all U.S. sanctions and verifying it.”

“Robert Malley will have to leave Vienna empty-handed if the Tuesday meeting would result in anything other than the removal of all U.S. sanctions,” the source added, referring to the U.S. president's special envoy for Iran who was to lead the American team in the Vienna talks.

Reuters also quoted an Iranian official as saying a similar thing. “Our agenda during the meeting (in Vienna) will be removal of all U.S. sanctions against Iran ... as our Supreme Leader has said repeatedly, anything less than that will not be accepted by Tehran,” the official said. 

The parties to the Iran deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), were expected to hold an important meeting in Vienna on Tuesday. The meeting was arranged during the Friday meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission, which was held virtually.

Following the Friday meeting, there has been a wave of speculation about possible direct talks between Iran and the U.S. in the Tuesday meeting as many Western news media outlets broke the news that U.S. officials will be in Vienna. 

The U.S. confirmed that it will participate in the Vienna meeting and said it was open to holding direct talks with Iran. 

“These remain early days, and we don’t anticipate an immediate breakthrough as there will be difficult discussions ahead. But we believe this is a healthy step forward,” U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Friday of the meeting in Vienna.

“We do not anticipate presently that there will be direct talks between the United States and Iran through this process, though the United States remains open to them,” he added.

But Iran said it will not have any talks with the U.S. in Vienna. 

“We will have no direct or indirect talks with the Americans in Vienna. We will negotiate with the Joint Commission and the P4+1 and will announce our demand and condition for returning to compliance with the JCPOA. We demand that the United States first fulfill all of its obligations and lift all the sanctions it has imposed, and then we will verify and return,” Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran Seyed Abbas Araghchi said in remarks to state TV.

Iran has said that the main subject that will be broached in Vienna is the lifting of all U.S. sanctions. 

“The agenda of this [joint] commission meeting is the removal of all U.S. cruel sanctions against Iran, and in other words, clarification of how parties [to the deal] should fulfill their commitments,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said at his weekly press briefing on Monday.

“The path is clear. All U.S. sanctions [against Iran] must be removed at once. Then [this measure] must be verified [by Tehran], and only then the Islamic Republic will take its step [to return to full commitments under the nuclear deal],” the spokesman continued. 

“In other words, we have only one step and not step-by-step [lifting of sanctions], and this one step includes the lifting of all sanctions imposed by the United States. In return, Iran will be ready to reverse its remedial measures, which were taken because of the opposite sides' violation of the pact,” Khatibzadeh said.

He added that the Tuesday meeting in Vienna is no different from previous sessions of the Joint Commission of the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and is just a periodical meeting between Iran and the P4+1 similar to those held in the past months.

The Iranian foreign minister held phone talks with two of his European counterparts ahead of the Vienna talks to encourage them to show a “constructive” stance on the renewed nuclear talks. 

 “In a telephone call with French FM @JY_LeDrian today, I urged France to show a constructive stance on the JCPOA in next week’s meeting in Vienna. I called on France to honor its commitments under the accord, and to cease abiding by illegal sanctions imposed by the U.S.,” Zarif said in a tweet following a call with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

The French foreign minister also said a similar thing. “I encouraged Iran to be constructive in the discussions that are set to take place,” Le Drian said. “They are meant to help identify in the coming weeks the steps that will be needed in order to return to full compliance with the nuclear deal.”

Shortly after this call, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab requested a telephone conversation with Zarif. They discussed the latest developments surrounding the JCPOA. 

“In this phone call, the two sides conferred on the latest developments related to the JCPOA, especially the upcoming meeting of the Joint Commission in Vienna,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Zarif once again underlined the necessity of the full and final removal of the U.S.’s “unlawful and unfair” sanctions in a way that Iran can verify.

“This is how we will return to our commitments,” Zarif said.

He also called on the European parties to the JCPOA to respect their commitments under the deal and play a constructive role in the Tuesday talks in Vienna.

The UK foreign secretary, in turn, said his country will try to help negotiations bear fruit.

The two sides also exchanged views on certain political and consular issues.

Iranian officials have welcomed the prospect of reviving the JCPOA. Iran's First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri said on Saturday now that Americans have admitted their maximum pressure policy has met failure, the entire proponents and opponents of the JCPOA in Iran are now demanding all sides to resume its full observation, according to the official website of the Iranian government.

“If the government had not preserved the JCPOA, the enemy could have once again spoken about the need for new negotiations, that could have taken another five years, or more, but now the path is quite clear,” said Jahangiri in his meeting with Khorasan Razavi university students, political and economic activists.

He said that besides the JCPOA case, there is no precedence for any other country that was under the Chapter 7 of the UN Security Council to be exempted from that status only by participation in negotiations.

Jahangiri also described former U.S. President Donald Trump as an “illogical man,” who came to power as a “sworn enemy of Iran” and contributed to the unilateral U.S. exit from the JCPOA.

The first vice president said that the government tolerated all the hardships imposed from inside and outside to remain in JCPOA, believing that even a torn apart nuclear deal is an obstacle in the way of the enemies’ serious antagonistic moves.

“All European Union members, as well as Russia and China, were claiming to be favoring the preservation of the JCPOA, but they could not take any practical step and only held Iran at the political scene to block the path for Trump’s effort to pass a UN Security Council resolution against Iran,” he said.

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