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US offered no initiatives at Doha talks: Iran FM tells French counterpart

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 Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (R) and his French counterpart Catherine Colonna (Photo combo via the Iranian Foreign Ministry website)

Iran's foreign minister says the US offered no initiatives during the negotiations in Qatari capital of Doha over the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that Iran was serious about achieving a good and lasting agreement on the deal, officially called the JCPOA.

He made the remarks in a telephone conversation with his French counterpart Catherine Colonna on Sunday night.

“We are serious and honest about reaching ....a good and durable agreement. We have always presented our positive suggestions and proposals during negotiations.”

“We believe that repeating previous stances should not replace political initiatives,” the top Iranian diplomat said.

Nevertheless, he described the talks as positive. “Our assessment of the recent talks in Doha is positive, but we have to see how the American side would take advantage of the diplomatic opportunity.” 

Amir-Abdollahian also reiterated that the path to diplomacy is still open. He noted that Iran has always adhered to all of its international obligations, saying Tehran expects the other sides to do the same.

Colonna, for her part, underscored that the available opportunity for dialog should be taken up in order to reach an agreement satisfactory to all parties.

“We believe that the window for diplomacy is still open and we must seize it in the best possible way to conclude an agreement. A deal is better than no agreement at all,” the French foreign minister said.

The European Union was tasked with coordinating indirect negotiations between Iran and the United States during the fresh round of negotiations in Qatar last week.

Iran does not sit down with the US as Washington is no longer a party to the landmark deal, which was unilaterally abandoned by former US president Donald Trump in May 2018.

The talks in Doha followed seven rounds of inconclusive negotiations in the Austrian capital of Vienna since April last year.

In quitting the agreement, Trump restored sanctions on Iran as part of what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign against the country. Those sanctions are being enforced to this day by the Joe Biden administration, even though it has repeatedly acknowledged that the policy has been a total failure. 

Iran has maintained it wants guarantees that it will be able to enjoy the economic benefits that were promised under the original deal.

Negotiations reached an impasse and were suspended in March over Washington’s refusal to remove post-JCPOA sanctions and take Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) off a list of “foreign terrorist organizations.”

The Trump administration blacklisted the IRGC in 2019 – the first and only time the United States has designated part of another country’s armed forces – in a move that analysts say was intended to make it harder for any future administration to re-enter the deal.

The Doha talks were held just a few days after European Union foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, visited Tehran seeking to break the impasse.


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