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Iran’s Zarif flatly rejects JCPOA renegotiation, urges mutual implementation of deal

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Wendy Sherman, then-US undersecretary of state for political affairs, sits next to (from left) US Secretary of State John Kerry, US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Robert Malley from the US National Security Council, and European Union representative Helga Schmid during a negotiation session with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif over Iran's nuclear program in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 20, 2015. (File photo by AFP)

Iran’s foreign minister has once again categorically ruled out any renegotiation of the nuclear deal clinched by Iran and six world powers in 2015, urging all parties to get down to implementing the deal, instead of just posturing.

“JCPOA cannot be renegotiated—period,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said via his Twitter account on Thursday, referring to the historic nuclear accord of 2015. “If 2021 is not 2015, it's not 1945 either. So let's change UN Charter & remove the veto—so often abused by US.”

Zarif was responding to Wendy Sherman, US President Joe Biden’s nominee for deputy secretary of state, who said earlier that the facts on the ground have changed since the nuclear agreement was signed, calling for a “stronger” deal.

“I would note that 2021 is not 2015, when the deal was agreed, nor 2016, when it was implemented,” Sherman said during a Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday. “The facts on the ground have changed, the geopolitics of the region have changed, and the way forward must similarly change.”

Zarif said “let’s stop posturing” and get down to implementing the JCPOA, which was struck between Iran and six world powers, including the US, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, and was abandoned unilaterally by the US in May 2018.

JCPOA cannot be renegotiated—period.

If 2021 is not 2015, it's not 1945 either. So let's change UN Charter & remove the veto—so often abused by US.

Let's stop posturing—which we both did 2003-2012 to no avail—& get down to implementing JCPOA—which we both actually signed on to.

— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) March 4, 2021

Sherman, who had helped negotiate the JCPOA, suggested that Biden had deserted his presidential campaign promise to re-enter the deal, saying the US president’s goal was “a deal that is longer and stronger.”

Tehran has repeatedly ruled out any renegotiation of the already-negotiated deal, saying the only way to save the JCPOA is for the US to lift its sanctions on Iran and rejoin the accord.

The Islamic Republic also withstood almost three years of former US President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy, which he implemented in hopes of forcing Iran to renegotiate a “better deal” than the JCPOA.

Sherman also suggested that Washington should keep some of the illegal sanctions on Iran, even if the US returns to the JCPOA – a move Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned about.

Earlier on Thursday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the United States has violated the JCPOA and it is Washington that should take practical steps to rejoin the deal and lift all sanctions it has re-imposed on Tehran.

“The US, as the one who violated the deal, shall lift all sanctions and take practical steps in order to be able to return to the JCPOA,” Rouhani said during an address to the 14th summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), which was held through videoconference.

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