Zakani: JCPOA only limited to nuclear issue and not regional or defensive capabilities

May 29, 2021 - 22:24

TEHRAN — Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Alireza Zakani, a presidential candidate, responded to many questions, including his foreign policy, possibility of sealing another JCPOA that would be “longer” and “stronger” as mentioned by the Europeans.

Zakani began his conference by thanking the organizers of the conference.

Responding to a question about his differences with other four candidates backed by the principlist faction, he said that he respects all candidates and wishes success for them but his plans are superior than others, calling his plans “developmental and all-inclusive.”

“My plans can be proved with facts and figures, along with opinion of experts,” he said.

The presidential candidate stated that from the point of view of inclusiveness, his plans are more comprehensive than the other 6 candidates. 

In response to a question about the Vienna negotiations to possibly revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions (JCPOA) and the fate of the negotiations under his possible administration, Zakani said that the existence of the negotiations is decided by the leading politicians, Supreme National Security Council and the approval of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution. 

“If anyone says I can do this and that, it is wrong, as the collective wisdom of the Leading politicians and the approval of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution would decide the existence of the negotiations,” he explained. 

The presidential candidate stated that the negotiations leading to the signing of the JCPOA had nothing to do with the incumbent administration, rather it started during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s watch. 

“I was never opposed to negotiations, but I oppose unprofessional decisions, as the fate of the people cannot be tampered with in 20 minutes,” he noted. 

He said that the United States’ tool to block removal of sanctions was Congress, yet the Iranian parliament did not pay attention to the interest of the people and approved the JCPOA in 20 minutes.

He also said, “Iran is giving many concessions for free in the ongoing Vienna talks, and I oppose giving concessions for free.” 

He defined negotiations as a deal, exemplifying the negotiations between Iran and the U.S. over the Jason Rezaeian case in the B2 file. 

“We started that negotiation, and we got 1.7 billion dollars instead of 400 million,” he said.

He said that Iran freed or delisted 28 people instead of four. 

“We delisted Sepah and Sepah international banks. This is the true meaning of negotiations, a good deal,” he stated. 

The principlist candidate reiterated that he believes in the negotiations in principle but negotiating has its own unique logic. 

“We can negotiate as we have done in the parliament when we invited Mr. (Yukiya) Amano to the special committee to oversee the JCPOA,” he said. 

“Amano had slips of tongue twice in the meeting, and his translator warned him. He said that I panicked in front of them. After the meeting ended, representatives told me that this was the first dignified negotiations in the parliament,” Zakani remarked. 

“Active and smart diplomacy”
Concluding his response to the question, he said that his diplomacy will be “active and smart,” meaning that he will use the capacities of all regional powers and neighboring countries, along with paying attention to Eastern countries in addition to confronting Western countries in a logical manner. 

He said that active and clear diplomacy will bring national dignity and global power. 

“Incomplete and broken deal”

Responding to a question about his administration’s policy towards global powers such as Russia and China, and how he would continue the Vienna negotiations, he said that he thinks the JCPOA is an “incomplete and broken deal.”

“This incomplete and broken deal was sealed. Today, we have done more than what they asked for in the JCPOA, now it is their turn. If the U.S wants to return to the JCPOA, it is more than welcome, but before rejoining the deal, it must lift all sanctions, issue the required guarantees. After Iran’s verification, it can rejoin the deal,” he stated. 

Zakani added that the Europeans should do their commitments as signatories to the JCPOA. He did not exclude Russia and China, saying as he is fully aware of the terms of the deal, the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, and the JCPOA appendixes, he can “cash” the JCPOA better than other candidates. 

The presidential aspirant said that he gives priority to foreign policy, putting an emphasis on the Resistance Front and neighbors as first priorities. He stated that his second priority is the Muslim countries, along with countries such as China who have been helping the Islamic Republic in times of hardship. 

Zakani added that he will certainly deal with the Europeans as well. 

“We have exported security to some countries, yet failed to export our culture and economy to them,” he said. 

On the 25-year partnership between Iran and China, Zakani said that he has read the plan and praised it.

“It is a historic opportunity for Iran and China. We would certainly appreciate this historic opportunity, and we should thank those who organized the plan, in particular, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution who paved the way for this great deal,” he remarked.

He stated that his administration will be looking into opportunities to sign similar partnerships with other countries such as Russia. 

Responding to the Tehran Times about the JCPOA and his administration’s position against “longer” and “stronger deal” request by the UK and U.S., he said, “The parties to the JCPOA have not guaranteed the continuation of the deal for us. They have set a snapback mechanism for us, which always makes us feel the threat. Our nuclear industry is worth more. We will negotiate properly with the help of our thinkers.”

Zakani added the Europeans and the U.S. say that Iran had promised them different things from the original deal. 

He added, “The incumbent administration was seeking a second and third JCPOA, as General Soleimani said; the second JCPOA was the regional (issues), and the third JCPOA was defensive (abilities).” 

“Immense pressure”

“The U.S. and Europeans say now that Iran is under immense pressure, which they only hallucinate, it must accept JCPOA 2 and 3. They wanted to do what they did to Ghaddafi and turn Iran into Libya, which is burning in fire but they will fail,” he said. 

He reiterated that further negotiations need collective wisdom of the leading politicians and the approval of the Leader. He further stated that his negotiations will be active and smart, and the JCPOA will only be about nuclear issues and nothing more.

Regarding the mechanisms for guaranteeing the verification process, he said that paragraphs 6 and 7 of the Law on Strategic Action to Lift Sanctions passed by the parliament are the guarantees.

Responding to the Tehran Times about how long is needed to verify the U.S. actions, Zakani said that there are two reports.

“About financial sanctions, three to six months is needed to verify their actions, and about industrial, production and export issues it at least needs six months to be verified,” he explained.

“We are an emerging power” 

In response to the Tehran Times about Tehran-Riyadh talks, the presidential candidate said that these kinds of talks are definitely beneficiary.

“When I say beneficiary, it does not mean that we should give in to their wrong policies. On the contrary, my administration is eager to talk with these countries, yet our negotiations will be to awaken them and lay the groundwork for mutual cooperation. We think about having the best relations with West Asian countries. We are an emerging power, and I don’t think anything is more important than constructing Iran. We appreciate these relations to build a powerful Islamic Iran, yet we defend our logical position.”


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