JCPOA revival talks
Iran has once again called on the United States to abandon its unilateralist approach to the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA. In his weekly briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said talks in Vienna aimed at reviving the JCPOA will proceed in better direction if the US walks away from unilateralism. He said Tehran needs to make sure if Washington can be trusted in its willingness to meet its JCPOA obligations again in a verifiable way. Khatibzadeh stressed that Iran does not take on any more commitments beyond the nuclear deal, nor does it accept benefits beneath what the JCPOA had promised. Iran and the remaining parties to the accord have held several rounds of talks in the Austrian capital to restore the nuclear deal. This, three years after the US unilaterally stepped out of the accord and re-imposed and reinforced sanctions on Iran.
Iran anti-terror operations
The Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces has warned that Tehran will destroy bases of anti-Iran terrorist groups in northern Iraq if they stage more attacks against Iranians. Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri said the Islamic Republic will not tolerate any mischief in its western border regions. Referring to anti-terror operation by Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps in the past two weeks, General Baqeri said such efforts against terrorist groups will expand if they keep staging the attacks. He also called on the Kurdistan regional government and the Iraqi government to counter anti-Iran groups. He said Iraqi officials must prevent armed groups in the area to have training barracks, radio and television stations and camps. The region has been used for a long time by anti-Iran groups such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and its offshoot, PJAK, to launch sporadic attacks on Iranian border areas.
Submarine deal row
US President Joe Biden has asked for talks with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron amid tensions over a submarine deal involving the US, UK and Australia. Paris says Biden and Macron will speak on the phone in the coming days. France is outraged after Australia scrapped a 2016 deal with a French naval group to build a dozen conventional submarines. Australia instead entered a pact to build at least eight nuclear-powered ones with US and British technology. France has accused the US and Australia of lying and duplicity. It has also recalled French ambassadors to Washington and Canberra. Australia has said it understands France’s disappointment, but it has acted in its national interests. Britain has also said the pact shows London’s readiness to be heard-headed in defending its own interests.