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Raeisi to Macron: Any Vienna agreement must remove all anti-Iran sanctions, provide credible guarantees

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)
Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi

Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi says any possible agreement between Iran and the P4+1 group of countries in the Austrian capital of Vienna must include the removal of all sanctions, the provision of valid guarantees and cessation of political issues and claims.

The Iranian president made the remarks in a phone conversation with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Saturday as the two sides discussed the latest status of the ongoing talks in Vienna between Tehran and the five remaining signatories to the 2015 Iran deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), aim to secure the revival of the agreement.

Raeisi said the Iranian negotiating team has repeatedly announced that it welcomes the initiatives that would guarantee the provision and protection of the nation's rights.

He added that certain "political pressures or claims have been made with the aim of maintaining the leverage of pressure on the Iranian nation which undermine the prospect of reaching an agreement [in Vienna]."

He noted that the Iranian delegation is advancing the talks in the Austrian capital with "seriousness," saying, "In the course of the [Vienna] negotiations, the Islamic Republic of Iran has offered constructive proposals and has examined the proposals made by the other side of the talks based on the their conformity with the interests of the Iranian people."

The United States left the Iran deal in 2018 and began to implement what it called the “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions against the Islamic Republic, depriving the country of the economic benefits of the agreement, including the removal of sanctions, for which Iran had agreed to certain caps on its nuclear activities.

In the meantime, the other parties to the deal, in particular France, Britain and Germany, only paid lip service to safeguarding Iran’s economic dividends as promised under the JCPOA, prompting Iran – after an entire year of “strategic patience” – to reduce its nuclear obligations in a legal move under the deal.

The Vienna talks began last April on the assumption that the US, under the Joe Biden administration, is willing to repeal the so-called maximum pressure policy pursued by former President Donald Trump.

Tehran says it will not settle for anything less than the removal of all US sanctions in a verifiable manner. It also wants guarantees that Washington would not abandon the agreement again.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Thursday that enemies are seeking to deprive Iranians of peaceful nuclear energy, stressing once again that the Islamic Republic has never sought nuclear weapons.

“You see how oppressively the enemy front is focusing on the issue of our nuclear energy. They (the enemy) impose sanctions [on us] because of the nuclear energy [program] that they know is peaceful. And whatever they may say about Iran being a certain amount of time away from producing a [nuclear] bomb is nonsensical and meaningless,” the Leader stated.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Raeisi said Iran's history of interaction with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the agency's numerous reports verifying the peaceful nature of the country's nuclear activities proved the false claims leveled by some countries against Tehran.

"In order to prove its good will, the Islamic Republic of Iran has always highlighted [its] professional cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and we need to be vigilant about the enemies' plots in this regard," the Iranian president pointed out.

Pointing to Iran's active role in the fight against terrorism alongside Iraq and Syria, Raeisi said effective confrontation of the Islamic Republic, particularly efforts by top Iranian anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani, have prevented the Daesh terrorists from securing a foothold in Europe.

The French president, for his part, said that good progress has been made in the Vienna talks and expressed hope that the negotiations between Iran and the P4+1 group of countries would yield fruit as soon as possible.

The Iranian and French presidents also discussed the latest regional developments and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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