JCPOA close to revival, says Iran

July 12, 2021 - 21:55

TEHRAN — For the second time in a row, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh responded to questions from reporters in an offline interview.

The spokesman began responding to reporters about the negotiations in Vienna to revive the JCPOA, saying from the point of view of the Islamic Republic the negotiations have made a good progress.

“A lot of texts have been prepared and the sections that have not been completed have a definite status that clearly shows the differences between both sides. It helps politicians understand what stage of decision-making they are at.”

He added Iran’s position toward the JCPOA have not changed since the beginning of the negotiations in April and Iran is demanding the lifting of sanctions as well as their verification and then resumption of commitments by the Islamic Republic. 

The spokesman said the United States, as a violator of the JCPOA, must provide the “necessary guarantees”. 

In the Vienna talks, he said, Iran has only been pursuing the goals set by the top officials of the system based on the framework of national interests.

"Certainly, for the outgoing and incoming governments, what is important is to achieve the highest interests of the people, and time is of secondary importance here. Obviously, the sooner this is done, the sooner the effects of lifting sanctions will appear in the country,” Khatibzadeh underlined.

He said that he wants to make a brief note, and that is given the progress that has been made, it can be assessed that all sides are nearing the end of the Vienna talks. 

Some unresolved issues remain, but what is important is that the weight of resolved issues far outweighs the unresolved issues, he explained. 

“We have come a long way, but this will not be an easy path. We hope that the other parties will be able to make their own decisions, in which case we too can reach an agreement that will be to everyone's liking,” he added. 

The diplomat noted all nuclear teams in Vienna acknowledge that relatively good progress has been made to restore the JCPOA and that all agreed on the need to seriously continue the path and reaching a final agreement. However, he said, some key issues needed to be addressed by top authorities. 

“What everyone in our country agrees on is that first U.S. sanctions must be lifted effectively and second the post-conflict demands have nothing to do with this agreement. It has been repeatedly stated that the Islamic Republic of Iran will resume full implementation of its commitments as soon as the nuclear agreement is fully implemented in a verifiable manner,” he highlighted. 

EU resolution has no justification

Reacting to the European Parliament's human rights resolution against Iran and the sanctions imposed on some Iranian officials, Khatibzadeh said, "We strongly condemn the European Parliament resolution. This resolution has no justification and is unacceptable and a clear example of interference in Iran's internal affairs.”

He pointed out that, unfortunately, the European Parliament, which claims it defends human rights in Iran, has been quite silent in the face of U.S. “economic terrorism” against the Iranian people and the killing of innocent people in Yemen and Palestine. 

Khatibzadeh stressed, "The European Parliament must end its misuse of the issue of human rights and take a balanced and rational stance in its interaction with the Islamic Republic of Iran."

"Washington is addicted to sanctions”

In response to a question about the new sanctions of the U.S. Treasury Department against some companies accused of having ties with China, Russia and Iran, the spokesman said, “Washington's addiction to sanctions has made this country not even see its interests.”

“We respect decisions made by the Lebanese”

The spokesman also said Iran believes that the Lebanese themselves must decide about their internal issues, reiterating the Islamic Republic does not interfere in the internal affairs of any country, including Lebanon. 

“We also respect the decisions taken by the Lebanese and we hope that the Lebanese government will be formed as soon as possible,” he added. 

The spokesman reiterated that the Islamic Republic believes that foreign intervention by the United States and others will make the situation in Lebanon more difficult.

“We consider these interventions to be a violation of Lebanon's stability. Lebanon has an independent government, a president, a parliament, and people who can solve problems themselves and must be respected. It is only the Lebanese people who determine the formation of the government and how it is formed, and they will not accept any external pressure or imposition,” the diplomat reiterated. 

“Iran-U.S. prisoner swap is a high-priority issue”

In response to recent claims by the U.S. special envoy on Iran Robert Malley on the prisoner swap discussions, Khatibzadeh said the issue of the release of Iranian prisoners in the United States and some other Western countries, “who have been taken hostage under false pretenses, has always been on the agenda as a high-priority issue.” 

He said that Foreign Minister Zarif has long proposed the exchange of all Iranian and American prisoners with each other. 

“The Biden administration has also addressed this issue since its takeover. Negotiations are underway in this regard, and if the negotiations are concluded, the public will be informed later,” he remarked. 

"Maximum pressure has failed”

Khatibzadeh also pointed to the failure of the policy of “maximum pressure” against Iran, saying that this has long been clear to experts. 

“This policy has not achieved any of its goals. At the same time, the illegality of the use and application of unilateral sanctions and the ineffectiveness of this leverage in the international arena is a matter of consensus. Over the past four decades, various U.S. governments have imposed and implemented a wide range of sanctions against Iran, but the truth is that even according to U.S. officials, the country has failed to achieve its sanctions goals and has so far gone nowhere,” he reiterated.