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Zarif: US removal of sanctions will lead to Iran reversal of JCPOA measures

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)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, receives Foreign Minister Simon Coveney of Ireland in Tehran on March 7, 2021. (Photo by IRNA)

Iran’s foreign minister says if the United States takes practical steps to remove the illegal sanctions it has unilaterally imposed on Tehran, the Islamic Republic will reciprocate the measure by reversing steps it has taken to reduce its commitment under the 2015 nuclear deal with the world powers.

Mohammad Javad Zarif made the remarks in a Sunday meeting with Ireland’s visiting Foreign Minister Simon Coveney in Tehran, during which the two sides discussed issues of concern to both countries at bilateral, regional and international levels.

Zarif, while reiterating Iran’s position on the nuclear agreement, said a “complete and effective removal of US sanctions” will be met with Iran’s reversing of its move to walk away from its nuclear obligations under the deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The two sides also reviewed ways to cooperate in order to reduce regional tensions. They discussed the recent developments in the Persian Gulf, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Afghanistan and the Caucasus.

Coveney, for his part, said his country will open its embassy in Tehran step by step, based on the agreed-upon arrangements.

The Irish foreign minister, who arrived in Tehran on Sunday for an official visit, also met with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani earlier in the day.

During that meeting, Coveney said the JCPOA had a substantial influence on global peace, adding that his country would do all in its power to preserve the deal.

Rouhani said Iran was prepared to “immediately” reverse its nuclear counter-steps once the US lifted the sanctions and “abandoned its policy of threat and pressure” against the Islamic Republic.

Under former US President Donald Trump, Washington unilaterally pulled out of the JCPOA and imposed the “toughest sanctions ever” under a “maximum pressure” policy it adopted against Iran. The policy was opposed by much of the international community as well as the Democrats in the US, who vowed to repeal and replace the policy if they retook the White House from Trump and his hawkish team.

The administration of President Joe Biden has so far failed to honor its promise to rejoin the JCPOA, pushing the issue toward an impasse by insisting that Iran should first come back to full compliance with the pact before the US re-enters.

Iran, on the other hand, says it reduced its nuclear commitments in the first place as a response to the US withdrawal and its subsequent sanctions, asserting that the Biden administration will abysmally fail to cow Iran into doing what it wants in the same way that the Trump administration did.

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