Foreign Ministry: U.S. must return to JCPOA, not Iran

June 26, 2021 - 18:55

TEHRAN — Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman on Friday responded to comments by the U.S. and French foreign ministers who had said they were waiting for Tehran to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the common name for the 2015 nuclear pact.

“Iran has never left the JCPOA, so there is no point saying it should return to the deal,” said Saeed Khatibzadeh.

“Rather, it is the United States that should make up its mind and return to the JCPOA by lifting its illegal sanctions and effectively fulfilling its commitments,” said the spokesman.

He stated that the Americans and Europeans know better than anyone else that Iran decided to remain in the JCPOA and keep it alive at a time when the U.S. unilaterally quit the agreement and imposed illegal and cruel sanctions on Iran and Europeans failed to honor their commitments under the agreement.

“During the negotiations in Vienna, it was announced time and again that it is the U.S. that has disrupted the balance of the JCPOA and has practically impeded the implementation of the JCPOA through its full non-compliance,” Khatibzadeh stated.

“Moreover, it was stressed that the Islamic Republic of Iran is fully prepared to stop its remedial measures (i.e., the scaling down of its obligations under the JCPOA) and resume the implementation of its commitments under the JCPOA provided the U.S. fully implements the agreement, and that the other parties are fully aware of Iran’s position,” he noted.

“It is clear that if the U.S. makes up its mind, becomes ready to fully deliver on its commitments and stop using sanctions as a bargaining chip, it will be possible to reach a deal,” the spokesman said.

At a briefing in Paris after meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, said, “We’ll see if we can bridge the differences, but they’re real, and we have to – we have to be able to bridge them,” calling on Iran to make "difficult" decisions to advance talks that could revive the deal.

Le Drian highlighted Blinken’s remarks, and said, “It’s been six weeks since the negotiations started again. Some progress was achieved, and we will now be entering the most difficult times. It will require some strong and courageous decisions on behalf of the new Iranian authorities, but now is the time.” 

The U.S. abandoned the nuclear agreement in May 2018 in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231. The decision to leave the agreement was within Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” strategy to strangulate the Iranian economy. However, Iran waited a year to see European parties to the deal to compensate Iran for the U.S. sanctions.

Seeing no action Iran decided to gradually reduce its commitments to the JCPOA in accordance to paragraph 36 of the JCPOA which has “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.” 

Each time that Iran has taken a step to reduce bans on its nuclear commitments it has been insisting that if sanctions are lifted it will reverse its decisions.


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