Iran says position on JCPOA talks has not changed

August 23, 2021 - 19:26

TEHRAN – Iran has reiterated its position on the 2015 nuclear deal that the United States must effectively lift all its sanctions on Iran, suggesting that Tehran’s stance on the Vienna nuclear talks has not undergone any change after the inauguration of a new government. 

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh pointed to the change of government in Tehran and said that this may cause some changes but Iran’s position on the Vienna talks has not changed. 

Iran and the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), have started nuclear talks in the Austrian capital in order to get the U.S. and Iran back into full compliance with the nuclear deal. So far, six rounds of talks have been held with no tangible success in terms of resuscitating the JCPOA. The last round was concluded in June. 

“Some changes may take place during the developments currently underway in Iran’s executive branch. But our positions have not changed. The effective lifting of all U.S. sanctions and other sides’ compliance with the JCPOA are still a prelude to any agreement in Vienna,” Khatibzadeh said on Monday. 

Speaking at a weekly press briefing, the spokesman also touched on the possible resumption date of the next round but he refused to set a certain date for the talks. He only said that a decision would be made on the resumption of talks. 

“That a decision would be made on the date of holding a new round of negotiations is natural and this would happen,” Khatibzadeh said. 

“Time is not on JCPOA side”

He also warned that the JCPOA may be running out of time. “Due to the complete violation of the JCPOA by the Americans and the non-compliance of European parties as well as other parties in terms of lifting the sanctions, time is not on JCPOA’s side,” the spokesman cautioned. 

“Iran's compensatory measures have been taken within the framework of the JCPOA and the other parties should know that our patience will not be forever and during this period we have not seen anything but words from the new U.S. officials and they have unfortunately continued the failed path of the previous U.S. administration,” he continued.

Khatibzadeh added, “Negotiations for the revival of the JCPOA should not become draining. We have emphasized this issue from the very beginning, and it must be done within a certain timeframe and criteria, and if the other parties are realistically present at the negotiating table, the negotiations will definitely not become draining, and we will not allow this to happen.”

The spokesman also responded to a joint statement by the three European countries that are party to the JCPOA. On August 19, the European trio, known as the E3, issued a statement to express concern over Iran’s nuclear activities. 

“We, the governments of France, Germany and the United Kingdom, note with grave concern the latest reports by the IAEA confirming that Iran has produced uranium metal enriched up to 20% for the first time, and has significantly increased its production capacity of uranium enriched up to 60%,” the statement said. 

The E3 once again accused Iran of violating the JCPOA and pursuing nuclear activities that are of no “credible civilian” use.

“Our concerns are deepened by the fact that Iran has significantly limited IAEA access through withdrawing from JCPOA-agreed monitoring arrangements and ceasing application of the Additional Protocol,” the E3 added. “Iran’s activities are all the more troubling given the fact talks in Vienna have been interrupted upon Tehran’s request for two months now and that Iran has not yet committed to a date for their resumption. While refusing to negotiate, Iran is instead establishing facts on the ground which make a return to the JCPOA more complicated.”

They concluded, “Iran must halt all activities in violation of the JCPOA without delay. We urge Iran to return to the negotiations in Vienna as soon as possible with a view to bringing them to a swift, successful conclusion. We have repeatedly stressed that time is on no-one’s side.”

Khatibzadeh said Iran’s measures were all in line with its international obligations. “What Iran has done has been all within the framework of regulation and adherence to safeguards and the NPT, and these have been done with prior notification to the [International Atomic Energy] Agency. All activities have been monitored by the Agency and there are no undeclared activities. All our activities were carried out for peaceful purposes and, as I said, the Agency was aware of them,” he said. 

Khatibzadeh stressed that such political statements do not absolve the three European countries of responsibility for violating the JCPOA. 

He noted, “These statements are not constructive, these statements are illegal and political. These three countries must answer where they were after the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA and [the start of] the maximum pressure of the Washington administration against the people of Iran and the economic terrorism that it committed against the people of Iran in various fields. What statement did they make and what did they do about these actions? The European parties are a clear example of inaction, and the best path that European countries can take to revive the JCPOA is to fulfill their obligations to the JCPOA and Iran.”

The spokesman pointed out, “During the time that the new U.S. administration is in office and the Vienna talks are underway, no positive action has been taken by European countries in fulfilling their obligations under the JCPOA, and European countries should fulfill their obligations instead of repeating these illusions.”

Khatibzadeh stated, “Iran has at least complied with its obligations under safeguards, and they have not complied with any obligations other than political, unconstructive and irresponsible statements.
 
We strive to make the Vienna dialogue meaningful. Opposing parties should pay attention to the facts and come to Vienna based on the view that they should fulfill their obligations.”

He also commented on remarks by U.S. special envoy for Iran Rob Malley regarding the JCPOA and the Vienna talks and the choices facing the United States.

Khatibzadeh said, “From the day the Americans stubbornly withdrew from the JCPOA and violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231, all parties had different choices, and we had the right to make different decisions based on our interests and commitments, and we took compensatory measures in this regard.”

He said, “What is important is that the Americans, by their actions, have left the fate of the JCPOA in a haze of ambiguity and have shown that they do not even adhere to the signature of their president.”

The spokesman added, “We recommend that all parties pay attention to the fact that all parties have the right to choose, and we act according to our interests.”

Iranian President Ayatollah Seyed Ebrahim Raisi made similar remarks during his Sunday meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi.

Responding to the Japanese foreign minister's remarks on the necessity and importance of implementing the JCPOA as an international agreement, the president said, “Iran has complied with all its obligations under the JCPOA and it is the Americans who have not fulfilled their obligations and unilaterally withdrew from the international agreement and expanded sanctions.”

Stating that the Europeans have also refused to fulfill their obligations under the deal following the United States, Ayatollah Raisi clarified, “Naturally, a country that has adhered to its obligations should be commended, and if a country that has withdrawn from the deal and not fulfilled its obligations must be reprimanded, and the Americans must be accountable to the world public opinion,” according to a statement by the Iranian presidency. 

Emphasizing that Iran has no problem with the principle of negotiation, the president clarified, “With what justification should the U.S. sanctions against the Iranian nation continue?”

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