Diplomat elaborates on the West’s ulterior motives in nuclear talks

July 30, 2021 - 20:59

TEHRAN - An Iranian diplomat comments on a warning by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei about the West’s intention to use the 2015 nuclear deal to enable interference in Iran’s affairs.

Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s permanent ambassador to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), made the remarks in an interview published on Ayatollah Khamenei’s official website, khamenei.ir, on Wednesday.

During a last meeting with the outgoing President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet team on Wednesday, Ayatollah Khamenei reminded how the Western side had been trying during the recent nuclear talks to include a condition in the deal that would turn into an excuse for subsequent interference in Iran’s affairs.

The Leader cited the Rouhani administration’s experience of dealing with the West on the issue of the nuclear agreement as an important case in point that had clearly shown “trust in the West does not work and will not work [in the future either].”

Since April Iran has been negotiating with the remaining parties to the nuclear deal with an indirect involvement of the U.S. to revive the deal ditched in May 2018 by Donald Trump. Six rounds of talks were held until June 20.

“Some of our diplomats really performed well, but the Americans stuck to their hostile position in an obstinate matter and they did not take a step forward. On paper and in words, they say that they will remove the sanctions, but they have not removed and are not going to remove them. The Americans have laid down a condition: they say that if we wish sanctions to be removed, we should include a clause in the agreement which signifies that we are willing to negotiate over certain matters in the future. They say that if we do not accept this clause, we will not have an agreement in the present time. What is this clause? This clause is actually a pretext for future interferences,” Ayatollah Khamenei warned. 

The Trump administration left the agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and imposed the heaviest sanctions in history against Iran. It even refused to loosen sanctions during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Under the agreement, Iran had agreed to put limits on its nuclear activities in exchange for termination of economic and financial sanctions.

Washington’s European allies party to the accord—the UK, France, and Germany—just paid lip service to the JCPOA and in practice did nothing to protect Iran from illegal sanctions. 

The sanctions were in sharp contrast to international law because the nuclear pact is being endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

In a move, pointed out by the Leader during the Wednesday meeting, they have even been trying to advance a provision that could pave the way for their meddling in the Islamic Republic’s affairs.

Gharibabadi went on to offer some details about the controversial provision and the reasons why it was completely unnecessary.

The West alleges that the so-called provision “guarantees the JCPOA’s nuclear non-proliferation” goals and also mandates certain “trust-building measures” among the Persian Gulf countries, the envoy said.

This is while there is no need for either, the envoy said. The nuclear deal has its own timetables that ensure implementation of its purposes, he said, adding the other demand runs strictly counter to the talks’ agenda too. 

 “New pressure tactics”

Therefore, Gharibabadi said, the Iranian side roundly rejected the proposal since this insistence “showed that they still consider the nuclear agreement to be a bridge enabling their interference in irrelevant issues such as Iran’s missile work and its regional affairs.”

“The purpose they seek through this is to start addressing these [irrelevant] issues [on various occasions] and consider them to be indivisible parts of the nuclear deal, and [therefore] lay the groundwork for their interference in these areas,” Ambassador Gharibabadi asserted, according to Press TV.

Thus, wherever, the Western side stopped short of its goals, it would be able to start blaming Iran and begin trying to put it under more pressure, the diplomat cautioned.

The official echoed the Leader’s remarks during the Wednesday meeting that such insistence on the part of the Americans had come while they, themselves, had “refused to retrace even one step towards reversing their adversarial stance concerning Iran.”

Among many other things, the diplomat said, they conditioned the lifting of some of the sanctions and removing the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) from their so-called blacklist on Iran’s resigning itself to the provision.

Neither did they agree to recognize an overdue end to an embargo on sales of conventional weapons to Iran, nor approve of lifting their bans on more than 500 Iranian natural and artificial persons, the envoy explained.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has also censured the United States and E3 over their “ill-intention” with regard to Iran and trying to blackmail Iran into renegotiating the deal.

“The U.S. and E3 have been transparent about their transgressions and have repeatedly stated their ill-intention to compel Iran to renegotiate [the JCPOA] provisions through economic pressure and blackmail,” Zarif said in a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres published on Friday.


Gharibabadi went on to delineate Iran’s counter-approach in the face of the West’s attempted inroads.

He said that during the whole time while the West had been either violating its commitments to the deal or trying to bring Iran under new pressure, the positions adopted by the establishment and a law ratified by the Majlis (Parliament) mandating further remedial nuclear steps on the part of the Islamic Republic had, in turn, improved Tehran’s position in the talks.

Now, faced with the West’s new pressure tactics, the country would try, on the one hand, to guard its improved standing, and advance its interests on the other, Gharibabadi stated.

Towards the purpose, the country would never lose sight of the fact that it was the U.S. that began compromising the JCPOA in the first place, “so care should be exercised for the complainant and the defendant’s rolls not to be switched here,” the envoy added.

Besides, the Islamic Republic prioritizes insistence on the practical and verifiable lifting of the sanctions on its agenda, and also tries to ensure that the U.S. would never be able to redeploy the sanctions weapon against it either, he said.

Thirdly, Tehran would resolutely stand by its assertion that neither the talks nor the nuclear deal are allowed to feature any irrelevant subject matters such as Iran’s defensive missile program or its regional influence.

“No Iranian official or institution stands against achievement of a good deal that would bring about practical removal of the sanctions. However, given the past experience, one should tread more vigilantly and more perceptively,” Gharibabadi said in conclusion.

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