Presidential candidate Mohsen Mehr-Alizadeh has praised the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal — which has been in trouble since the US’s unilateral exit over three years ago — as a “great achievement of diplomacy” that should be protected.
In a statement issued on Friday through his campaign, Mehr-Alizadeh said the nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), had been born of “the collective wisdom and will of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s futuristic and caring authorities.”
The statement pinned the blame for America’s pullout in 2018 on then US President Donald Trump’s breach of promises and “certain elements inside” the country, which created obstacles in the way of the agreement.
“This great diplomatic achievement should be protected. The agenda of [his potential] Administration of Prosperity would be proper management toward realizing the positive effects of the JCPOA in the people’s lives,” the statement said.
The JCPOA was reached between Tehran and six major world states, including the US, in 2015. The deal lifted anti-Iran sanctions in exchange for placing certain curbs on Iran’s program.
Under Trump, however, the US withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018 and targeted Iran with even harsher sanctions than before, prompting Iran a year later to go on a tit-for-tat campaign under Article 26 of the deal, which allows a party to suspend parts of its commitments in case of non-compliance on the part of other signatories.
When new President Joe Biden took over from Trump, the White House said it wanted to rejoin the deal, but urged Tehran, in an excessive demand, to resume its commitments before it lifted the sanctions.
Tehran, however, says the onus is on the US, as the party that abandoned the deal, to make up for its past mistakes by practically and verifiably removing all the sanctions before it can return to the deal.
Since early April, a diplomatic process has been underway between Iran and the remaining signatories in Vienna on ways to resolve the row and make the US return to compliance.
“I want to declare to the world that I will tread the same path that the Administration of Reforms took toward de-escalation with the world [under ex-President Seyyed Mohammad Khatami],” said Reformist Mehr-Alizadeh, who served as vice president in the Khatami administration.
“Furthermore, establishing friendly ties with the neighbors based on our common interests would a priority for the third Khatami administration in the global arena,” he added.
Although Mehr-Alizadeh is a Reformist, neither Khatami nor the camp’s main bloc, called Iran’s Reform Front, has come out in his support.
The presidential candidate is said to have been working over the past days to win the bloc’s support through a set of measures such as meeting Khatami, writing to the Reform Front, and adopting harsh positions against the Principlists during his campaign speeches.