FM says Iran wants guarantees sanctions will not be reimposed

January 7, 2022 - 23:1

TEHRAN - Iran’s foreign minister has said an agreement can be reached with world powers over its nuclear deal if Western parties have the will and intention to do so.

In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera broadcast on Thursday, Hossein Amir Abdollahian said an agreement could be reached if all sanctions were lifted.

An eighth round of negotiations aimed at restoring Iran’s landmark 2015 nuclear deal is under way in Vienna, where Iran is still looking for guarantees that U.S. sanctions will be lifted.

The talks over the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), are taking place between Iran, Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia as signatory to the deal. The United States, which unilaterally withdrew from the deal in 2018, is participating in the talks indirectly.

Under the JCPOA, Iran agreed to put limits on its nuclear activities in exchange for termination of economic and financial sanctions. Iran remained fully committed to the deal one year after the U.S. abandoned the deal and imposed crippling sanctions on Iran under “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic. 

However, seeing no action by the remaining parties, particularly the Europeans, to compensate Iran for the sanctions, the Islamic Republic started to gradually remove bans on its nuclear program. 

Tehran is now demanding a complete lifting of U.S. sanctions, as well as guarantees that the U.S. will not pull out of the accord again. Iran is also seeking a period of time to verify that sanctions are effectively lifted.

“Lifting sanctions means lifting all forms of sanctions stipulated in the nuclear agreement, and the sanctions that Trump reimposed contradict the terms of the agreement,” Amir-Abdollahian told Al Jazeera.

“We demand guarantees that include not imposing any new sanctions, and not reimposing sanctions after lifting them under any pretext,” he added.

Iran’s chief diplomat said the most “practical model” for this would be when it comes to Iran exporting oil and obtaining revenues through the country’s own banking system.

Amir Abdollahian also said, “There’s an informal and an indirect exchange of message with the Americans in Vienna – we hear good words from that delegation, but what is important to us is to see practical and serious American actions.”

Al Jazeera’s Dorsa Jabbari, reporting from Vienna, said Amir Abdollahian seemed “quite optimistic”.

“The technical issues and the logistical issues they had over the agenda has been resolved,” Jabbari said.

“The foreign minister was very specific about Iran’s position – he gave some very good examples of what they’re looking for,” she added.

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