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Iran VP: Europeans just stood by as US violated commitments under JCPOA

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran’s Vice President for Legal Affairs Mohammad Dehqan (R) and German Ambassador to Tehran Hans-Udo Muzel (2nd L) meet on December 20, 2021. (Photo by IRNA)

The Iranian vice president for legal affairs says while the United States was violating the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, European signatories to the agreement just stood by and watched its violations.

Mohammad Dehqan made the remarks in a Monday meeting with German Ambassador to Tehran Hans-Udo Muzel, during which the two sides exchanged views on various issues, including the future outlook of negotiations in the Austrian capital on the restoration of the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to its original state.

“The US is to blame for the violation of the JCPOA and we expected Europe, especially Germany, to play an active role in this regard. The JCPOA was an international document, which had been upheld by the United Nations Security Council. Europe merely stood by and watched US violating the JCPOA. History will not judge Europeans’ conduct kindly,” Iran’s vice president said.

“Iran has always welcomed negotiations and has never left the negotiating table. In the past, we tried to do away with international concerns by remaining compliant with the JCPOA unilaterally. Now, we still hope that we would clinch a balanced deal after the inauguration of the new German government and through more active participation of Europeans” in Vienna talks, Dehqan added.

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 Tehran to negotiate a “new deal.”

Iran and the five remaining parties to the JCPOA -- Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China -- resumed talks in Vienna on November 29 after a five-month hiatus, marking the first round of negotiations under President Ebrahim Raeisi’s administration and the seventh overall.

During the seventh round of the Vienna talks, 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.

Iran and the P4+1 group of countries resumed the talks in the Austrian capital on December 9 after being paused on December 3, when the participants returned to their capitals for additional consultations on the two draft proposals that Tehran had put forward.

As the seventh round of discussions in Vienna concluded on Friday, Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani said the three European parties to the JCPOA, also known as the E3, intimately agreed to accept Tehran’s viewpoint as a basis for “serious, result-oriented” talks.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Dehqan pointed to the 150-year track record of cordial relations between Iran and Germany as well as cultural commonalities between the two nations, saying that the Iranian administration's policy is to expand ties with different countries. He also expressed hope that Iran's relations with Germany would be further strengthened.

"We want Germany, as a powerful European country, to maintain its independence, not be influenced by American unilateralism and appear as an effective player in the international arena," the senior Iranian official pointed out.

He rejected "baseless" claims that Iran has been seeking to develop weapons of mass destruction, saying, "During the [Iraqi] imposed war, Iran did not possess any weapons of mass destruction as it does not believe in such weapons."

"This is a baseless accusation that Iran has sought to obtain nuclear weapons. We have never been, and are not after nuclear weapons," Iran's vice president said. 

He slammed European countries' double standards when it comes to atomic weapons and said, "Europe does not care about the Zionist regime's nuclear weapons, which endanger the security of the region."

The German ambassador, for his part, said the new government in Germany, as a non-nuclear country, will try to facilitate the conclusion of a comprehensive agreement between Iran and the P4+1 group of countries and promote stability in relations among states.

He added that the Vienna negotiators have returned to their capitals after reaching an agreement on how to continue the talks, expressing hope that the eighth round of the talks, which is expected to resume after New Year's holidays, would result in positive outcomes.

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