Iran’s ex-envoy to IAEA urges E3 to take practical steps to revive JCPOA

Former Iranian Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Ali Asghar Soltanieh speaks to Press TV.

Former Iranian Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has advised the European parties to the Iran nuclear deal to stop playing games and take practical steps towards reviving the accord, including pressing the United States to lift the sanctions imposed against the Islamic Republic.

Ali Asghar Soltanieh told Press TV that if the European signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)- the UK, France, and Germany – genuinely want to make sure that the nuclear deal will survive, the only chance is to push the US to lift the sanctions and honor its international obligations under the deal.

Soltanieh expressed hope that “the wisdom will prevail” in preventing any further escalation.

The Donald Trump administration unilaterally abandoned the nuclear deal in May 2018, and unleashed what his team called a “maximum pressure campaign” with the stated objective of forcing Iran to negotiate “a better agreement.”

Despite throwing verbal support behind the JCPOA, the European parties to the deal ultimately succumbed to Washington’s pressure and failed to fulfill their contractual commitments to Tehran, mainly by confronting the American sanctions.

That promoted Tehran to begin a set of retaliatory measures in several stages as part of its legal rights stipulated in Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA.

“In fact, Washington and the EU know that this time they cannot lie again, they cannot play game. The Iranian people are very cautious now because of the confidence deficit and what has happened,” Soltanieh said.

“They have received now this clear message that there is one solid voice from Iran, from Parliament, from government that the US has to start compensating for what the previous administration has done.”

President Joe Biden has expressed a willingness to bring the US back to the nuclear accord. However, his administration is demanding to see changes from Tehran before Washington would consider lifting the sanctions, as demanded by Iran.

The Islamic Republic insists that as the party that has abandoned its international obligations, the US should take the first step by removing the unlawful bans in a verifiable manner.

Commenting on the US’s refusal to lift the sanctions, Soltanieh said that despite speculation that the Biden administration will open a new chapter, “it seems that the same trend and policies have continued. Economic terrorist actions against Iran have continued. We don't see any sort of a change.”

He said any desire on the part of the Biden administration to force Iran back to the negotiating table by continuing down the path of Trump’s “maximum pressure campaign” would be a “serious miscalculation.”

The former ambassador warned that any delay in lifting the sanctions would further "damage any window of opportunity that Iran has left open.”

Commenting on a proposed step-for-step return to the 2015 nuclear deal, Soltanieh noted that the Biden administration has to “condemn” the Trump administration’s violations of the accord and open a new chapter by lifting all the sanctions.

“The United States has had non-compliance to the commitment, had withdrawn from the JCPOA, violated the UN Security Council Resolution 2231 and the US has to first condemn this action. Mr. Biden on behalf of the US has to condemn this action, apologize to the Iranian people for damages, and then immediately lift the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.”

“They have to come to the conclusion that we have to open a new chapter after Trump has disappeared. But unfortunately, it seems that as I said, there are still remnants of the Trump administration in the White House, and they are making a serious mistake by continuing the sanctions or even playing the game - let's have a step by step, let's talk, let's negotiate.”

“There is no negotiation needed. As our officials or foreign minister and others have said, we are not going to renegotiate the JCPOA, therefore what is the negotiation for? Lift the sanction. And if all 4+1 and Iran agree, then they can join JCPOA afterward.”

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