Jun 09, 2021 19:27 UTC
  • Zakani: I’ll pursue Iran’s JCPOA rights in negotiations with co-signatories

Presidential candidate Alireza Zakani, an outspoken critic of the 2015 nuclear deal, says he will continue negotiations with the five parties to the agreement, if he is elected, to get back the rights of the Iranian nation that were violated following the US’s unilateral withdrawal over three years ago.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Zakani said regardless of the nature of the nuclear deal, which he has repeatedly criticized, “We have been pursuing a series of demands” as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the deal’s official name.

“Under the current circumstances, the United States and Europe have failed to fulfill their JCPOA commitments; therefore, it is necessary for us to continue negotiations with these countries to get back Iran’s rights,” said Zakani. “We will follow up on this case.”

He was reacting to a question about the talks underway in Vienna, Austria, between Iran and the parties to the JCPOA — namely France, Britain, Germany, Russia, and China — over a potential revival of the nuclear agreement, whose fate has been in limbo as a result of America’s pullout in 2018.

 “I do not rule out the principle of negotiation and favor anything that adds to our national interests,” Zakani said.

The United States, the lawmaker said, can rejoin the JCPOA only when it lifts its “brutal sanctions” against Iran, and when Tehran is given “legal guarantees that Iran’s interests under the JCPOA would be fulfilled.”

The Americans, however, “are willing to keep the infrastructure of the sanctions and bring up new [irrelevant’ issues in this [nuclear] area, both of which are our red lines,” Zakani added.

When the JCPOA was signed, Zakani was the head of the parliamentary committee tasked with examining the accord, which then stood between Tehran and six countries, including the US.

The President Hassan Rouhani administration has been criticized for having failed to foresee a US withdrawal in the event of a transfer of power from the Democratic to the Republican Party in the United States.

‘A move toward de-escalation with Persian Gulf neighbors’

Zakani says high on his foreign policy agenda is interactions with the country’s 15 neighbors in the region.

The country, he said, needs to adopt an “active, smart” diplomacy to play a positive role both in the region and the international arena, and “from that perspective, the 15 neighborly states are a top priority for us.”

“The principle of good neighborliness is our definitive policy. We seek careful and rational relations [with neighbors] in the fields of economy and culture. We will focus our efforts on achieving mutual interests from standing beside one another,” Zakani said.

In the case of the Persian Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia, Zakani said Iran’s strategy would be “based on mutual respect, a move toward de-escalation, and bringing about a logical situation in the region.”

He said much of the tension in the region is rooted in the wrong policies pursued by certain regional states, referring to the Saudi war on Yemen as a case in point.