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Iran determined to restore JCPOA but demands guarantees parties won't violate it again: UN envoy

Majid Takht-Ravanchi, Iran's ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations, addresses a UN Security Council’s session on December 14, 2021.

Iran’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations says Tehran is determined to make every effort to restore the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as it is but it demands verifiable guarantees that the other parties will not again violate their obligations.

Majid Takht Ravanchi made the remarks in a statement on “Non-Proliferation: implementation of Security Council resolution 2231” during a UN Security Council’s session on Tuesday.

“Iran is determined to make every effort to restore the JCPOA as it is. To that end, our proposals put forward in Vienna are in full conformity with the JCPOA and Resolution 2231. We have demonstrated our genuine political will, seriousness and constructive engagement with our interlocutors to arrive at a good agreement as soon as possible. Now, it is time for the other sides to prove that they are genuinely willing to accept and implement, effectively and in good faith, all their JCPOA commitments,” Takht Ravanchi said.

“Therefore, provision of verifiable and objective guarantees that, the delicate balance of commitments will not be torpedoed anymore, the obligations will not be violated again, sanctions will not be re-imposed under other pretexts or designations — as took place during the previous administration of the US — and the JCPOA mechanisms will not be abused, is absolutely necessary,” he added.

Iran’s UN envoy underlined that the US sanctions are in contravention of legal obligations, the UN Charter and international law as they deter economic trade with Tehran.

The United States has committed multiple cases of “significant non-performance under the JCPOA and still is in continuous systematic material breach of its legal obligations under resolution 2231, the UN Charter and international law. It is also in defiance of the unanimous order of the International Court of Justice of 3 October 2018, requiring the US to remove impediments to humanitarian trade with Iran,” Takht Ravanchi said.

“As a result of such gross violations of international law, the scope and extent of the damage to the Iranian people and economy is severe, resulting in the loss of many lives as well as a vast serious disruption in our economy,” he added.

Iran’s measures reversible but not sufferings of its people

Stressing that Washington’s bans against Tehran amount to “economic terrorism,” Takht Ravanchi said Iran continues its remedial measures under the JCPOA which are in “full conformity” with the Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations, and that Iran has paid a heavy price to preserve the 2015 landmark deal.

“More importantly, our steps are completely reversible. We are continuing our remedial measures concurrent with the Vienna talks because the non-performance of obligations by other parties still continues, sanctions are still in full force, maximum pressure policy is still being pursued, and the sufferings of our people still persist. Nevertheless, as soon as other parties implement all their obligations in a full, effective and verifiable manner, Iran will immediately reverse its measures in full,” Iran’s UN envoy said.

“Conversely, the sufferings of our people due to the non-performance of other parties with their obligations particularly those resulting from the re-imposition of the US illegal sanctions are almost absolutely irreversible,” he underlined.

“How can one reverse the precious lives lost because of the US inhumane sanctions? How can one bring back to life those lives lost due to the weaponization of humanitarian goods? How can one revive the lives of innocent children being perished because the United States has opted to prevent them from access to the most essential medicines?”

Genuine political will, good faith key to Vienna talks success

Takht Ravanchi concluded that participation in Vienna talks on the removal of anti-Iran sanctions with “genuine political will and in good faith” would be the key to the success of negotiations in the Austrian capital.

“The current Vienna talks can succeed, not by engaging in blame games, not by setting artificial deadlines, not by introducing threats and intimidations, not by raising unfounded accusations or disinformation campaigns, and not by committing sabotage, disruptive or terrorist activities in Iran,” he said.

“But only by engaging in negotiations with genuine political will and in good faith, and sticking to one principle: the full, effective and verifiable implementation by all sides of all commitments under the JCPOA; nothing more and nothing less. This is the most pragmatic and easily achievable solution at the earliest time. There is no magic solution.”

The JCPOA was abandoned by former US President Donald Trump in May 2018. Trump then targeted Iran’s economy with what he called a “maximum pressure” campaign, which failed to compel Iran to negotiate a “new deal.”

Iran and the five remaining parties to the JCPOA -- Germany, Britain, France, Russia and China -- began the talks in the Austrian capital in April with the aim of removing the sanctions after the US, under President Joe Biden, voiced its willingness to return to the agreement.

During the seventh round of the Vienna talks, the first under President Ebrahim Raeisi, Iran presented two draft texts which address, separately, the removal of US sanctions and Iran’s return to its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA. Tehran also said it was preparing a third draft text on the verification of the sanctions removal.

Ali Bagheri Kani, Iran’s chief negotiator to the Vienna talks on the removal of anti-Iran sanctions, censured on Tuesday Western parties over their insistence on playing a blame game against Iran, advising them to pursue real diplomacy.

Prior to and in the midst of the new round of talks, American and European diplomats voiced strong pessimism about the prospects of the talks, claiming Iran was not serious.

The Americans, in the meantime, have said they will not remove all the sanctions that they imposed on Iran after their withdrawal. They have also declined to provide guarantees that the US will not leave the JCPOA again, once it is accepted back into the deal.

UN chief urges removal of US sanctions on Iran

Also on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the seventh round of Vienna talks and called for the removal of US sanctions against Tehran under the 2015 nuclear deal and Security Council Resolution 2231.

In his 12th report to the UN Security Council, Guterres said negotiations for the return of all parties to the accord and their commitments should be sped up, adding that the US should end its unilateral sanctions against Iran to ensure the economic benefits of the JCPOA for the country.

“I appeal again to the United States to lift or waive its sanctions as outlined in the Plan, to extend the waivers with regard to the trade in oil with the Islamic Republic of Iran and to fully renew waivers for nuclear non-proliferation projects in the framework of the Plan. Those steps are needed to facilitate the full and proper implementation of the Plan and resolution 2231,” he said, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The UN chief also said removing sanctions on Iran's oil sector would help revive the accord, expressing regret over Tehran's rollback of its relevant nuclear commitments.

Iran’s reduction of its obligations came after the country remained patient for an entire year following Washington’s exit from the JCPOA. Tehran began to take incremental steps away from its nuclear commitments especially after Europeans failed to salvage the deal under the US pressure.

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