Senior MP: Americans first proposed interim nuclear agreement

February 6, 2022 - 21:48

TEHRAN — The Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee chief has said that there is no need for direct talks with the United States in Vienna.

Vahid Jalalzadeh said many people think that a new nuclear deal is being formed, but this is not the case. 

“The Islamic Republic considers itself bound by the obligations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions (JCPOA) and believes that the other side should also be bound by the JCPOA obligations. This is what we are fighting for,” Jalalzadeh explained, IRNA reported on Sunday.

The senior legislator continued by saying that Iran increased its nuclear capabilities in several stages after the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA.

According to the MP, if an agreement is reached in the negotiations in Vienna, Iran will also return to its JCPOA commitments. 

“Iran is not satisfied with anything less or more than the JCPOA. The United States is raising the issue of some commitments beyond the JCPOA, and Iran's response is that we will not back down from our demand,” he added.

Negotiations are underway to lift sanctions based on the terms of the JCPOA as well as those slapped by Donald Trump after he unilaterally quit the multilateral agreement in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231. 

Under Trump, the label of some nuclear sanctions was changed to create obstacles for next U.S. administration to lift sanctions.

“Some companies were sanctioned for their nuclear activities, but Trump changed their sanction labels to sanctions for human rights and terrorism. The move prompted the current U.S. administration to declare that the sanctions were not nuclear and therefore could not be lifted. Iran declares that these sanctions are not human rights sanctions, but their label have changed and this has created problems” in the path to revive the JCPOA, he explained.

Jalalzadeh added the other side is interested in negotiating on nuclear, human rights and regional issues, but Iran negotiates only on nuclear related issues. 

“The Islamic Republic always seeks to destroy the structure of sanctions, but in Vienna we seek to lift the sanctions that were lifted in 2015 in accordance with the JCPOA. In the Vienna talks, we seek to restore Iran's rights under the 2015 nuclear deal, the obligations of the Islamic Republic and the obligations of the other side,” the MP added.

“Vienna talks are punitive for Americans”

According to the senior legislator, the Vienna negotiations are “punitive talks” for the United States as Iran has refused to talk directly with the Americans. 
“We have kept the United States behind the doors of the negotiation room in the Vienna talks. The U.S. presence in the Vienna talks is subject to Iran's permission,” he explained.

He added that the Vienna talks, which began during the Rouhani administration, are punitive talks in which the Islamic Republic declares that the United States is an “undesirable” member of the JCPOA.

He added, “The U.S. has left the deal, is a liar and violates the obligations. Verification is defined in this regard.”

He assessed the foreign ministry's decision not to have direct negotiations with the United States as “correct,” saying that Iran is currently negotiating with the United States through intermediaries and informal writings. 

However, he added, intermediaries naturally consider their own interests.

“The European countries that mediate these negotiations also consider their own interests. The Europeans believe that sanctions are not ours, talk to the United States, but nuclear issues belong to us, because Iran's nuclear capabilities overshadow Europe,” Jalalzadeh noted.

He said based on his views in such circumstances there is no need to directly negotiate with the United States.

The senior MP added that nothing is left of the JCPOA. 

“Both sides are already standing at the starting point. Iran has increased its peaceful nuclear capabilities, the (parliamentary) Law of Strategic Actions to Lift Sanctions has upgraded Iran's nuclear capabilities, and now there is nothing left of the JCPOA signed in 2015. The United States and Europe have not lived up to their commitments from the beginning,” he explained.

Jalalzadeh added that the parliament has not included the United States in the text of the parliamentary ratification to lift sanction. 

“Our addressees in this law have been Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany, most of which have failed to fulfill their obligations,” he pointed out.
Regarding the U.S. officials’ remarks about the JCPOA, the senior legislator noted, “The American side declares that if we do not reach an agreement in a timespan, the JCPOA will lose its status, and for us, it has already lost its status.”

Regarding Russia and China’s similar positions on Iran, Jalalzadeh said that the behavior of China and Russia in the recent negotiations has been much more constructive. 

“I read the reports. In addition, in the meetings we have with the negotiators at the foreign ministry, the assessment is that China and Russia have been more constructive in the negotiations than before,” he added. 

According to the parliamentary committee chief, the second point is the behavior that Europe and the United States have shown against China and Russia. 

“At the moment China and Russia are under the sanctions of Europe and the United States. This has been influential in the proximity of China and Russia to Iran,” he commented.

He then went on to talk about the new Iranian government’s “Look to the East” policy, saying, “Many of Iran's neighbors and strategic allies complain that whenever Iran sees the smiles of the Europeans, it forgets its allies. After the signing of the JCPOA, Iran’s relationship with the East was damaged. We hope that in the new government, Iran's relations with the East, Africa, Latin America and neighboring countries will be improved. In these countries, there are excellent grounds for increasing economic, trade, political and cultural relations.” 

Jalalzadeh went on to reveal that the idea of a step-by-step and interim agreement was proposed by the Americans during the first six round of negotiations which was held during the time that Abbas Araqchi was Iran’s lead negotiator.

“At the time that Araqchi was leading the negotiations, the Americans, when they saw Iran's firm and serious position for a permanent agreement and the lifting of sanctions, and believed that this agreement was not within reach, proposed an interim or step-by-step agreement,” he outlined.

The legislator then went on to say that according to the proposal suggested by the Americans, Iran would shut down some key nuclear activities and in return the United States would agree to suspend sanctions on oil sales.

“Iran did not accept such an offer because it would make the economy conditional and would tie it to the negotiations. This proposal was not accepted by the previous government and the current government,” he elaborated.

Jalalzadeh concluded his remarks by saying that the Americans were the first to propose an interim agreement. 

“Iran is not looking for an interim agreement but for a permanent one. The interim agreement has been removed from the negotiations table in Vienna,” he asserted.
 

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