Official: US’ Return to JCPOA before Lifting Sanctions, “Blackmailing”
TEHRAN (FNA)- Chairman of Iran's Strategic Council on Foreign Relations Seyed Kamal Kharrazi said the US’ return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan Action before removal of all sanctions will amount to extortion.
“Washington should first lift all sanctions that have been illegally imposed on Iran, if it wants to return to the JCPOA,” Kharrazi said, warning, “If America seeks to return to the JCPOA without lifting sanctions, that will lead to blackmailing because it will raise a [new] demand for each sanction that it wants to lift; so this is irrational.”
“JCPOA has become a ‘half-dead’ deal because anti-Iranian sanctions were not lifted,” he said.
“Negotiations had been aimed at lifting sanctions and it is necessary to remove the cause of the failure in order to implement the text of the JCPOA,” the official elaborated, adding, “America must first lift the sanctions to be able to return to the JCPOA. If European countries seek to return the deal to conditions of its first day without US, they should fulfill all the commitments that they have so far failed fulfilled and remove the sanctions.”
“The correct course is to lift all the sanctions that have been imposed against Iran after the JCPOA with presidential orders, comprising those related to the nuclear issue or those labeled under terrorism or human rights,” he said, adding, “Of course this is a feasible measure that Europeans should pursue even if America does not return to the JCPOA; they should meet their obligations so that we can meet ours.”
“The JCPOA is a clear and defined document. We agreed to talk about the nuclear issue and made an agreement and stayed committed to our obligations till they violated theirs and then we reduced commitments in response. The JCPOA has a clear framework and has no relation with Iran’s regional and missile issues,” the former foreign minister noted.
Iran signed the JCPOA with six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia, and China — in 2015.
Outgoing US President Donald Trump, a stern critic of the historic deal, unilaterally pulled Washington out of the JCPOA in May 2018, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism in an attempt to strangle the Iranian oil trade, but to no avail since its "so-called maximum pressure policy" has failed to push Tehran to the negotiating table.
In response to the US’ unilateral move, Tehran has so far rowed back on its nuclear commitments four times in compliance with Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, but stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the mutual trade from the US sanctions.
Tehran has particularly been disappointed with failure of the three European signatories to the JCPOA -- Britain, France and Germany -- to protect its business interests under the deal after the United States' withdrawal.
On January 5, 2020, Iran took a final step in reducing its commitments, and said it would no longer observe any operational limitations on its nuclear industry, whether concerning the capacity and level of uranium enrichment, the volume of stockpiled uranium or research and development.
Meantime, US President-elect Joe Biden has recently said in a CNN article that he wants a renegotiation of the contents of the deal before he agrees to rejoin the agreement.
“I will offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy. If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations. With our allies, we will work to strengthen and extend the nuclear deal's provisions, while also addressing other issues of concern,” he wrote, mentioning that he wants changes to the contents of the nuclear deal and guarantees from Tehran that it would be open for compromise to strike multiple deals over its missile and regional powers as well as a number of other issues that have been the bones of contention between the two sides in the last four decades.
In response, Zarif had stressed that the US has violated the nuclear deal and is in no position to ask for any conditions for its return to the JCPOA, adding that it's Tehran that has its own terms to allow the US back into the internationally endorsed agreement.
The foreign minister has reiterated time and again that Tehran would not change even a single word of the agreement, and cautioned the US that it needs to pay reparations for the damage it has inflicted on Iran through its retreat from the nuclear agreement and give enough insurances that it would not go for initiating the trigger mechanism again before it could get back to the deal.
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei
In relevant remarks on Friday January 8, 2021, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said that the US must first lift all sanctions against Iran if it wants to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, stressing that the West is duty-bound to lift all wicked sanctions immediately.
“The United States should remove all sanctions prior to returning to the JCPOA,” the Supreme Leader said, adding that the US’ return to the nuclear deal before lifting of the sanctions will be to Iran’s detriment.
Elaborating on the JCPOA, the Supreme Leader said that Iran’s obligations should be completely proportionate to the measures of the US and Europe which have not fulfilled any of their commitments.