Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman says the present juncture is not a suitable time for holding an unofficial meeting with European Union and American officials on the landmark nuclear deal that Iran clinched with world powers in 2015, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Speaking to reporters on Sunday evening, Saeed Khatibzadeh said, “In view of the recent stances and measures taken by the United States and the three European countries [who are signatories to the JCPOA], the Islamic Republic of Iran believes that this is not a good time for holding an unofficial meeting on the accord as proposed by the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell.”
Khatibzadeh’s remarks followed an earlier report by The Wall Street Journal, which quoted senior diplomats as saying that Iran has rejected a European Union offer to arrange direct nuclear talks with the US.
According to The Wall Street Journal, two senior Western diplomats said Iran has ruled out attending a meeting in Europe for now, saying it wanted a guarantee first that the US would lift some sanctions after the meeting.
“Implementation of commitments by all parties [to the JCPOA] is not a matter of negotiation and give-and-take, because all options for give-and-take were exhausted five years ago,” Khatibzadeh said.
He added, “The way forward is quite clear. The US must end its illegal and unilateral sanctions and return to its JCPOA commitments. This issue neither needs negotiation, nor a resolution by the Board of Governors [of the International Atomic Energy Agency].”
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will respond to actions with action and just in the same way that it will return to its JCPOA commitments as sanctions are removed, it will also answer in kind to all hostile measures and behaviors,” he emphasized.
Back in May 2018, former US President Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the JCPOA, calling it the “worst deal ever”, and vowing to press Tehran into negotiating a new deal through a “maximum pressure” campaign that included tough economic sanctions and military provocations.
Tehran, which has verifiably asserted that it does not seek to develop nuclear weapons, adopted what it called the “maximum resistance” policy and successfully weathered the US pressure, while pushing the other parties to the deal, officially known as the JCPOA, to honor their commitments and stand up to US bullying.
Iran maintains that the three European parties to the deal, also known as the E3, have paid only lip service to Tehran’s calls to safeguard its interests against the United States’ illegal sanctions.