Iran’s foreign minister has urged the three European parties to the 2015 nuclear agreement to honor their commitments under the historic pact and act constructively in the upcoming meeting in Vienna.
Mohammad Javad Zarif made the remarks in a phone call with the British foreign secretary on Saturday, which was made on the British side's demand, referring to an upcoming meeting between the remaining parties to the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with the aim of reviving the deal three years after Washington unilaterally withdrew from it.
Senior officials from Iran, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China will attend the JCPOA Joint Commission on Tuesday in what appears to be the first serious push to reinvigorate the deal since January 20, when Joe Biden was sworn in as the new president of the United States.
Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, adopted a policy of “maximum pressure” against Tehran after the withdrawal, escalating tensions with Iran and drawing strong criticism from the other signatories of the accord.
Iran was patient for one year. But with no palpable shift in circumstances, Tehran began a gradual process of reducing its nuclear undertakings. The decision was taken as Iran’s right under Article 36 of the JCPOA.
During the Saturday phone call, Zarif underlined the need for the United States to fully lift the illegal and unfair sanctions against Iran in a “verifiable” manner, adding, “Only then we will return to our commitments.”
For his part, Dominic Raab said Britain will work for a fruitful new round of talks.
On Saturday, the Iranian foreign minister said he had held a phone call with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, during which he called on Paris to live up to the JCPOA obligations and stop adhering to the US sanctions.
During the phone call, Zarif said, “I urged France to show a constructive stance on the JCPOA in next week’s meeting in Vienna.”
The Vienna meeting was scheduled during a virtual session of the JCPOA Joint Commission led by the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Friday.
At the same time, the US administration is sending a team of diplomats to Vienna. Washington also reportedly appointed its special envoy for Iran Robert Malley to head its team there.
While Iranian and American diplomats are not expected to meet face to face on Tuesday, the Biden administration has not been disinclined to hold direct and indirect talks with the Iranian side.
Iran rejects the notion of holding talks with the US before the White House returns to compliance with the JCPOA. On Sunday, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi emphasized that the two sides would have no direct or indirect talks in the Austrian capital.
“We will have no talks, whether direct or indirect, with the Americans in Vienna. We will negotiate with the Joint Commission and the P4+1 and pronounce our condition for the [US] return to the JCPOA. Our demand is that the US must first fulfill all its obligations and remove all the sanctions it has imposed, then we will verify and return” to the point where Iran had not taken the remedial measures yet, Araqchi said.