Iran Foreign Ministry: Doubling down on sanctions won't create leverage for US in Vienna talks
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman has lambasted fresh US sanctions against a number of the Iranian officials and entities over rights allegations, saying the intensification of anti-Iran measures will fail to create leverage and also runs counter to the anticipated seriousness and goodwill at a time that Iran and the remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal are in the midst of a new round of talks on the removal of American sanctions.
According to Press TV, Saeed Khatibzadeh made the remarks in a post on his Twitter account late on Tuesday, shortly after the US Treasury and State Department announced sanctions against a dozen Iranian government officials and organizations over accusations of human rights abuses.
“Even amid Vienna talks, US cannot stop imposing sanctions against Iran,” Khatibzadeh wrote in his tweet, referring to the seventh round of high-level talks between Iran and the other parties to the nuclear agreement in the Austrian capital of Vienna.
“Washington fails to understand that 'maximum failure' & a diplomatic breakthrough are mutually exclusive. Doubling down on sanctions won't create leverage — and is anything but seriousness & goodwill,” he added.
The new sanctions on Tuesday targeted eight Iranian individuals and four organizations that the US administration claimed without providing any evidence to be involved in the repression of protesters and political activists.
Former US President Donald Trump unilaterally left the 2015 nuclear deal — officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — in May 2018 and re-imposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the deal had lifted. He also placed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of his “maximum pressure” campaign.
Following a year of strategic patience, Iran decided to let go of some of the restrictions on its nuclear energy program, resorting to its legal rights under the JCPOA, which grants a party the right to suspend its contractual commitments in case of a non-performance by the other side.
The administration of US President Joe Biden had voiced willingness to compensate for Trump’s mistake and rejoin the deal, but it has retained the sanctions as leverage.
After a five-month hiatus, envoys from Iran and the P4+1 group of countries — Britain, France, Russia, and China plus Germany — began on November 29 the seventh round of talks in Vienna to resurrect the JCPOA.
At the talks, the first under President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi, the Iranian delegation presented two detailed draft texts: one on the removal of US sanctions and the other on Iran’s return to its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA.
The five-day intensive negotiations ended on December 3 after the diplomats returned to their capitals for more consultations.
Iran’s chief negotiator to the Vienna talks Ali Bagheri-Kani announced on Tuesday that Iran and the five other parties to the 2015 nuclear deal are set to start a new round of negotiations on December 9.