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US and EU never fulfilled all their obligations under JCPOA: Analyst

This undated picture shows the flags of the countries that remain in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official name of the nuclear agreement signed between Iran and world powers in Vienna in 2015, alongside the flag of the European Union (C).

The United States and the European Union have never fulfilled all their obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and “have no justification for demanding that Iran take the first step,” according to Charles Dunaway, an American political commentator based in Oregon.

Dunaway made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Thursday while commenting on a statement by Iran’s UN ambassador Majid Takht-Ravanchi, who said the ball is in America’s court regarding the nuclear agreement that it abandoned in 2018.

Takht-Ravanchi said that Tehran is waiting for the new US administration to take the first step to lift the unlawful sanctions and then rejoin the 2015 multilateral accord.

In an interview with NBC News on Monday, Takht-Ravanchi said Tehran was not prepared to offer goodwill gestures or confidence-building measures until Washington remove its sanctions and return to the JCPOA.

“It’s up to the US to decide what course of action to take. We’re not in a hurry,” he said.

In 2015, Iran and six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China — signed the JCPOA which was ratified in the form of UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

However, the US under former President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of the JCPOA in May 2018 and reinstated the anti-Iran sanctions that had been lifted by the deal.

The Trump administration also launched what it called a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, targeting the Iranian nation with the “toughest ever” restrictive measures.

As the remaining European parties failed to fulfill their end of the bargain under US pressure, Iran began in May 2019 to scale back its JCPOA commitments under Articles 26 and 36 of the accord covering Tehran’s legal rights.

New US President Joe Biden has pledged to rejoin the accord, which was inked when he was vice president, if the Islamic Republic returns to compliance.

“The chief Zionist columnist for the New York Times, Bret Stephens, recently wrote: ‘It beggars belief that the [Biden] White House is reportedly considering former diplomat Robert Malley as a special envoy for Iran. Malley is widely seen as one of Tehran’s premier apologists in Washington,’” Dunaway said.

“This is part of a Zionist campaign to prevent Malley from being confirmed by the Senate. It is indicative of the struggle within the Biden White House and the US political class on Iran policy.  If confirmed, Malley would join 2 other important members of the national security team that are seen as having a more balanced view of Iran: the incoming CIA Director, William J. Burns, the new national security advisor Jake Sullivan, and the new Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, who was involved in negotiations for the JCPOA,” he told Press TV.

“The new Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, is a committed supporter of Israel.  His comments on Iran and the JCPOA show a prejudice toward Iran that echoes Israeli positions while seeming to support return to the JCPOA assuming Iran makes the first concessions,” he stated.  

“And, what about Biden himself?  He has said that ‘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.’  That statement does not bode well. First, it appears to require that Iran return to compliance with a deal that the US unilaterally abandoned.  In fact, the US and EU never fulfilled all their obligations under the JCPOA and have no justification for demanding that Iran take the first step,” he noted.

“Also, even if the US takes the first step in returning to the JCPOA, that would not be sufficient to restore confidence in US diplomacy needed to begin follow-on negotiations. None of these actors seem to take into account the damage done to Iran and to US-Iran relations by the Trump administration, particularly Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign and the assassination of General Soleimani. They also fail to understand the damage done to the US credibility and standing in the world over the last 4 years. The Biden team still believes in the exceptional nation myth and labors under the mistaken impression that they can return to the days of unchallenged US hegemony,” he said.

“There are important mainstream voices in the US supporting a more realistic, multilateral policy in the Middle East. A major think tank recently issued a paper calling on the US to abandon their attempt to dominate the Persian Gulf, and encourage regional dialogue but not try to lead it.  That advice is not yet politically viable in the US, and probably will not be as long as Israeli interests are able to dictate policy,” he said.

“The Biden regime may remove the more punitive of the illegal sanctions on Iran, but will they be willing to return fully to their obligations under the JCPOA as the government of Iran requires?  That is possible, but in my opinion, not likely.  In a just world, they would prosecute the murderers of General Soleimani and offer reparations for the unjust economic injuries on Iran caused by the Trump Administration.  We do not live in that just world, and the Democrats do not have the political muscle needed to pursue justice, even if they wanted to - which they don’t,” he said.

“The US is, at least, temporarily, being led by rational people again, but the nation and the party in power are far weaker than they are willing to admit,” he concluded.

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