No need for direct, indirect talks with US before removal of all Iran sanctions: FM spokesman
The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman has once again ruled out the possibility of engaging in “any direct or indirect talks” with the United States as long as Washington refuses to remove all the sanctions it has imposed, re-imposed or relabeled against Tehran.
“There were no direct or indirect talks in Vienna or elsewhere [between Iran and the United States] because there is no need for any new negotiations,” Saeed Khatibzadeh said in an interview with CNN correspondent Christian Amanpour on Friday at the end of four days of talks in the Austrian capital between representatives of Iran and the remaining parties to the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
He added that Iran and the P4+1 group of countries — Britain, France, Russia, and China plus Germany – as well as the EU, as the coordinator of the JCPOA, are working “to identify the full list of sanctions that the United States should actually remove.
“Whether Iran and the United States can again talk, it depends [on whether] the United States gets back to the deal and ... the JCPOA table when everybody is present, then we can continue. But, until then, there would be no direct or indirect talks or negotiations between the two sides,” the Iranian spokesperson said.
Elaborating on the talks in Vienna, Khatibzadeh said, “The moves in Vienna were in the right direction. There were positive moves that all the 4+1 [countries] made in Vienna.”
“The Vienna talks show that progress is possible and that the positive momentum which has [been] created by the 4+1 and Iran can be sustained if the United States is ready to fulfill its obligations under the UN Security Council Resolution 2231” that endorses the JCPOA, he added.
He went on to describe the “dedicate situation” surrounding the future of the nuclear deal, saying there are some individuals within the current administration of Biden who “are much more committed to Trump sanctions than [former president Barack] Obama’s nuclear deal.”
He added that Biden should make a “political decision” and clarify if he actually wants to “risk the nuclear deal signed by the United States when he was vice president in favor of Trump’s failed .... sanctions or is he actually trying to depart from this failure?”
Asked about Iran’s viewpoint on the significance of the revival of the JCPOA, Khatibzadeh said, “Iran has been always crystal clear on the JCPOA” which was signed following tough negotiations between the former P5+1 plus Iran and the EU.
Since then Iran has always been consistent in terms of elaborating that everybody should be in full compliance with the JCPOA, he said, adding that Iran has been "fully and faithfully" implementing the JCPOA even one year after president Trump withdrew from the JCPOA.
Since then, Iran has always been "crystal clear that all sanctions imposed illegally on Iran by the United States, meaning that those who have been imposed, re-imposed or relabeled by [the] Trump administration, should be removed verifiably and at once,” the Foreign Ministry spokesman pointed out.
He noted that Iran is pursuing a “crystal clear position” which is not only logical but also a workable path for the United States to get back to the JCPOA and full compliance with the deal.
He emphasized that it was the US that broke the deal and thus it has to fix it now.
“It is almost impossible for anybody inside Iran to trust the United States, especially after four years of nonstop economic war against the Iranian people,” he said.
He added that the Trump administration imposed all sanctions on Iran in the first place “not because Iran was violating the JCPOA. Iran was subject to the illegal extraterritorial sanctions by the United States because Iran was fully and faithfully actually implementing the JCPOA.”
“So, logically it is up to the United States to show ... everybody that they want to reverse the course that the Trump administration has started,” Khatibzadeh pointed out.
He said that after the conclusion of the JCPOA in 2015, Iran was the first party that implemented the deal as verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency many times, but the US even under ex-president Obama refrained from removing all sanctions on Tehran.
“But the point is that this time the United States has to show everybody that they actually want in practice not on paper to reverse the course and they want to implement the JCPOA fully and faithfully,” he said.
“Iran has paved the way to preserve the deal. The United States knows exactly what Iran has done to preserve the deal. We think the United States has to first remove all the sanctions verifiably and open the verification.”
The Iranian spokesman expressed the country’s readiness to stop its remedial measures if the US removes all sanctions, saying, “All the measures taken by Iran are actually reversible.”
In response to a question as to whether Iran would agree to discuss issues not relating to the JCPOA after US State Department spokesman Ned Price said Thursday that the Biden administration will maintain sanctions on Iran over non-nuclear issues, Khatibzadeh said, “First of all, let me clarify that all sanctions without any distinction between designations and sanctions should [be] removed.”
He added that during four years of Trump’s presidency, all measures were aimed at destroying the JCPOA and targeting the Iranian people with sanctions.
“It is not hidden that all the officials under Trump were arguing that they are going to make it impossible or make it very much difficult for any other administration to get back to full compliance.”
“So, we do believe that any sanctions imposed by Trump should be removed. [It] does not matter if it is relabeled or re-imposed or actually imposed. Everything should get back to January 2017,” the Iranian spokesman emphasized.
He said Iran’s missile program is an “issue of defense” and added, “No country on earth compromised on its national security, and missiles are actually the issue of our defense. So, nobody is going to talk about that.”
He noted that the nuclear issue was the “only thing” that Tehran and Washington have agreed to solve but “unfortunately, the United States decided to even make this agreement a point of conflict between the two sides.”
“It seems that there are those inside the US administration who are trying to keep some sanctions as leverage on Iran. They have tried once but they failed and it will fail again if they do that,” Khatibzadeh concluded.