Lifting sanctions constitutes ‘essential part’ of JCPOA: EU and U.S.

June 16, 2021 - 14:13

TEHRAN - The European Union and the United States have said that lifting sanctions on Iran constitutes an “essential part” of the 215 Iran nuclear agreement, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), whose possible revival is the subject of the ongoing talks in Vienna since early April, according to Press TV.

“The European Union and the United States recognize that, alongside the return to full and effective implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments, the lifting of sanctions constitutes an essential part of the JCPOA,” the EU and the U.S. said in a joint statement after a summit on Tuesday.

Former U.S. president Donald Trump unilaterally abrogated the JCPOA on May 8, 2018 and imposed the toughest sanctions in history against Iran in line with his “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran. However, Iran remained completely committed to the multilateral agreement for a full year, waiting for the European signatories to the JCPOA to compensate Iran for the sanctions. However, seeing no actions by Europe, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) issued a statement on May 8, 2019 declaring that Iran’s “strategic patience” is over and started to remove bans on its nuclear program at bi-monthly intervals in accordance to paragraph 36 of the JCPOA.

(Paragraph 36 provided a mechanism to resolve disputes and allows one side, under certain circumstances, to stop complying with the deal if the other side is out of compliance.)

At the time Iran announced if Europeans act to their JCPOA commitments, Tehran will reverse its decisions. However, Europeans failed to do so.

Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, has promised to rejoin the JCPOA while strongly criticizing the former hawkish U.S. administration’s Iran policy, including its failed maximum pressure campaign.

The Vienna talks began based on that promise, although the U.S. – as a non-party to the JCPOA – is not directly partaking in the talks between Iran and the other remaining parties to the JCPOA, namely Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany. The talks are taking place within the JCPOA Joint Commission. The talks are led by Enrique Mora, deputy secretary-general and political director of the European External Action Service (EEAS).

In their Tuesday statement, the EU and the U.S. stressed their support for the Vienna initiative to facilitate the return of the United States to the JCPOA, followed by Iran’s reversal of what it calls “remedial measures” against the U.S. withdrawal and sanctions.

They also voiced determination to work together to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and renew global arms control efforts.

“The JCPOA remains critical to ensuring the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program and to upholding the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture,” they added, according to the Press TV.

Throughout the years, Iran has been insisting that it is not seeking to develop, possess or use nuclear weapons. Iran is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has allowed the strictest inspections of its nuclear sites by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) under the nuclear pact.

On Tuesday, Mora said progress has been made on overcoming key obstacles at the talks.

“The obstacles (are)...something that I think can be bridged,” Mora told reporters. “This is why we are here: to negotiate these different approaches, and I think we will succeed.”

Diplomats at the Vienna talks have said that the current round of the talks, which is the sixth since the negotiations began, is unlikely to be the last.

“We continue negotiations as much as needed without wasting our time or without letting anybody else waste our time. We continue negotiations, we are not in a hurry. We don’t have any deadline for ourselves,” Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s lead negotiator in the JCPOA talks, told Press TV on Sunday.

Talking to CBS News on “Face the Nation” program on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said after Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal Iran began to remove “the constraints that the deal had imposed on” its nuclear program.

Blinken said Iran “has been galloping forward and it's enriching more material. It's enriching at- at higher levels- degrees than were allowed under the agreement… it is gaining knowledge. And if this goes on a lot longer, if they continue to gallop ahead… they're going to have knowledge that's going to be very hard to reverse, which I think puts some urgency in seeing if we can put the nuclear problem back in the box that the agreement had put it in and, unfortunately, Iran is now out of as a result of us pulling out of the agreement.”

Trump, who is viewed as both a “traitor and a clown” in the words of Mark Fitzpatrick, quit the nuclear deal despite the fact that it was endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

In remarks on Tuesday, President Hassan Rouhani said it is necessary that the world become aware of Trump’s “anti-human crimes” against the Iranian people.

“It is necessary that the document of the imposed economic war and implementers of the comprehensive and unprecedented sanctions to be published so that all become aware of the Trump administration’s anti-human crimes against the Iranian nation,” Rouhani stated.  

The Trump administration not only returned sanctions lifted under the JCPOA, it also introduced other sanctions under different labels. It also imposed a total ban on Iran’s oil export, the Islamic Republic’s main source of income.

Rouhani said, “Generally, in public view crime against humanity is synonymous with war and armed conflict. However, sanctions and economic war should also be recognized and registered as ‘silent crime against humanity,’ and Iran, as the victim of this inhumane act, will present the document of sanctions enforcers to the people in the world.”

Also, the participants in the summit of the Group of Seven (G7) industrial nations have emphasized that the restoration and full implementation of the JCPOA would help all parties to address regional and security concerns.

“A restored and fully-implemented JCPOA could ... pave the way to further address regional and security concerns,” they said in their final communique on Sunday.

Claiming that they are committed to “ensuring that Iran will never develop a nuclear weapon,” the G7 leaders welcomed “the substantive discussions between JCPOA participants” in the Austrian capital which aim to “accomplish a return of the United States and Iran to their JCPOA commitments.”

The G7 leaders also indicated their support for “the goal of restoring the nonproliferation benefits of the JCPOA and of ensuring the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.”

They urged Iran “to stop and reverse all measures that reduce transparency and to ensure full and timely cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.”

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