Iran’s lead negotiator in the multilateral talks held in Austrian capital city of Vienna with the goal of securing removal of all illegal sanctions imposed on Tehran says the Americans need to accept reality and abide by all commitments they have undertaken under the 2015 nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic.
“The US and the EU must show that they have the political will to implement what they agreed to do in 2015. They must overcome domestic considerations to resolve this,” Ali Baqeri-Kani, who also serves as Iran’s deputy foreign minister for political affairs, said in an interview with Al Jazeera network whose text was published on Monday.
He was making a reference to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), whose revival has been on the agenda of high-profile negotiations between Iran and the remaining signatories, known as the P4+1 group, in the Austrian capital since April.
The JCPOA was unilaterally abandoned by the US in 2018, when former US President Donald Trump decided to implement a “maximum pressure” policy against Tehran.
US President Joe Biden promised to reverse Trump’s own reversing of his predecessor Barack Obama’s decision to sign on to the JCPOA. The Biden administration also argued on the sidelines of the Vienna talks that Tehran and Washington should mutually return to their commitments under the agreement.
Iran, however, has insisted that the US, as the party that initially violated the pact by its 2018 withdrawal, needs to fully honor its commitments first, after which Tehran will halt its nuclear energy activities that go beyond the limits set by the JCPOA.
‘No reason to reduce nuclear work now’
Elsewhere in his remarks, Baqeri-Kani reiterated that the onus is on the US to prove its compliance with the deal as it was the only party who ditched the accord in a unilateral manner.
“It is widely believed that the United States, by withdrawing from the JCPOA, breached the deal blatantly and violated UNSC Resolution 2231 flagrantly,” Baqeri-Kani said.
He made it clear that Iran has overcome Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign and will be sitting at the negotiating table on November 29 with “full preparedness, capacity, and total commitment to the JCPOA.”
“That’s why the Americans, while resorting to deception, try to exploit the political and media environment in their own favor. But it is not to their advantage. They should accept reality and abide by all their commitments,” the senior Iranian diplomat noted.
According to Baqeri-Kani, Iran continues its nuclear activities legitimately within the framework stipulated in paragraphs 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, which give Iran the right to reciprocate the noncompliance of the other side through legally reducing its own commitments under the accord.
Rejecting calls on Tehran to reverse its nuclear advancements, Baqeri said, “Until the violating and noncompliant party to the deal does not demonstrate, in practice, its commitment to the JCPOA, there is no reason for Iran to abandon its rights and entitlements guaranteed by the deal.”
“Everything is clear and there is nothing ambiguous about the nuclear deal to negotiate,” he added.
‘Foreign presence in region impedes dialog’
In another part of his remarks, Baqeri-Kani called on the European parties to the JCPOA – namely France, Britain, and Germany – to demonstrate their abidance by the nuclear deal in action, instead of paying lip service to it, and to put an end to the noncompliance of the United States and its bankrupt policy of maximum pressure.
Asked whether Iran would discuss its missile program or regional influence after presumably successful conclusion of the Vienna talks, he stressed that only the countries of the region are entitled to make decisions about the issues of the region.
“Any interference from outside the region will bring no benefit for any party,” said the senior diplomat, pointing to the catastrophic ramifications of US-led interventions in the region. “It’s their presence and interference that impedes constructive dialogue.”
"The experience of foreign intervention from outside the region in Iraq and Afghanistan indicates that murder, genocide, the destruction of infrastructure, the spread of terrorism as well as narcotics cultivation and trafficking have been the main outcome of intervention and manipulation by foreign powers during the past two decades," the Iranian diplomat noted.
Baqeri-Kani also signaled that the Islamic Republic is ready to keep weathering US sanctions if the Vienna talks do not fulfill its expectations.
“Reliance on domestic capabilities and capacity has been a key to success for Iran over the past four decades,” he said.
“Experience has shown that self-reliance would prove more productive and fruitful than anything else in the sophisticated process of political, economic, and even security and military developments. We have gone a long way and we are a patient people,” he added.