Zarif calls on U.S. to avoid using sanctions as ‘leverage’

June 6, 2021 - 20:38

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called on the U.S. to return to its obligations and stop trying to use economic sanctions as a negotiating “leverage.”

In a telephone conversation with UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Zarif said he agreed with his British counterpart on the need to resume the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Agreed in phone call with FM @DominicRaab on need to resume full compliance with the JCPOA. Underlined that U.S. must return fully to its obligations & cease trying to use unlawful economic war against Iran as negotiating ‘leverage.’  Also discussed bilateral & consular issues,” Zarif said on Twitter.

The phone call came after the fifth round of talks between Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA in Vienna. Following more than a week of intensive bilateral and multilateral talks at different levels, the JCPOA Joint Commission held a meeting at the Austrian capital's Grand Hotel last week. 

In the Wednesday meeting, the heads of the negotiating teams of the JCPOA member states evaluated the latest status of negotiations.

All delegations expressed pleasure with the progress made so far, and once again underlined their determination and seriousness to pursue the negotiations in the coming days with the purpose of finding solutions to a number of issues that have yet to be settled, according to a statement issued by the Iranian foreign ministry.

During the meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission, the participants agreed to continue their contacts and talks at the level of experts. They also agreed that the heads of delegations go back to their capitals for a few days for consultations, and then resume the talks in the coming days.

A few hours before the meeting, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi, who led the Iranian negotiating team in Vienna, told Iran state TV that the meeting would conclude the fifth round of talks.

“Today we are in a situation where we have to make a new conclusion on the negotiations that have taken place so far,” he said ahead of the meeting. 

He added, “All delegations concluded that visits should be made to the capitals for further consultation and further decision-making on disputes. Today we will have a final meeting of the Joint Commission, after which the delegations will return to their capitals.”

The top Iranian nuclear negotiator said during the Wednesday meeting a return date will likely be set for delegations to return to Vienna. 

“All delegations are determined and there is complete seriousness. Disagreements have reached a point where everyone believes that it is not impossible to resolve, but details are important anyway, and our firm positions are important to be respected. God willing, the meeting will conclude when we will start,” Araqchi said, noting, “I do not know if it will be too far and we will probably return to Vienna after a consultation period in Tehran, God willing, as in the past.”

So far, the negotiating partners in Vienna have held five rounds of talks to discuss the possible U.S. return to the JCPOA. They made progress in terms of determining some of the measures needed to be taken by Iran and the U.S. to resume full compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, but they are yet to arrive at a final agreement on how to achieve the goal of fully restore the JCPOA to the pre-Trump era. Iran has called on the U.S. to lift all the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration. The U.S., however, has shown little interest in lifting all the Trump-era sanctions.

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