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Vienna talks ‘ample opportunity’ for US to return to JCPOA commitments: Top Iranian diplomat

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)
Asadollah Eshraq Jahromi (R), the director general for International Peace and Security at the Iranian Foreign Ministry (Photo via IRNA)

A top Iranian diplomat has said that talks in Vienna to revive the 2015 nuclear deal are an “ample opportunity” for the US to show its determination to return to the agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Asadollah Eshraq Jahromi, the director general for International Peace and Security at the Iranian Foreign Ministry, made the remarks on Thursday at the United Nations’ Tenth Review Conference of Parties to the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

“Indeed, the ongoing talks in Vienna provide the United States with an ample opportunity to demonstrate its seriousness to return to its obligations under the JCPOA,” Eshraq Jahromi said, dismissing allegations made by Western countries against Iran regarding its peaceful nuclear program.

Vienna is hosting a new round of negotiations with the aim of reviving the accord four years after the US unilaterally pulled out and pursued a confrontational policy against Tehran. The talks, which began in April 2021, have been fruitless due to Washington’s reluctance to fully honor its contractual obligations.

After several months of impasse, the Vienna talks resumed on Thursday as Iran’s lead negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani met with the European Union’s deputy foreign policy chief, Enrique Mora, while saying in a tweet that the US must “seize the opportunity” to return to the deal.

“Iran has so far adhered to the JCPOA terms while the US and E3 have failed to meet their JCPOA obligations. After the US withdrew from JCPOA in May 2018 and reinstated the sanctions that were supposed to be lifted, and even imposed further new ones, Iran remained in full compliance with its commitments,” Eshraq Jahromi explained.

“In response to the restoration of the US sanctions, Iran had to take certain remedial measures, time and again, consistent with the provisions of the JCPOA, including paragraphs 26 and 36 that allow Iran to do so,” he said.

However, the senior diplomat reiterated Tehran’s position that it will cease its “remedial” actions and resume the full implementation of its nuclear-related measures in accordance with the JCPOA should the other parties “keep their end of the bargain.”

The Joe Biden administration, while being a critic of Trump’s withdrawal and maximum pressure policy against Iran, has in practice continued to keep those sanctions in place and added fresh ones as well, Eshraq Jahromi regretted.

In the meantime, he continued, European parties to the deal “not only failed to honor their obligations but also have started to side with the US which has violated its JCPOA obligations.”

He stated that the US and the other parties to the JCPOA were tasked with ensuring that Iran benefited from the advantages of its implementation and that the deal does not fall apart due to the “US’s unacceptable behavior.”

“The above-said representatives must realize that neither the gambit of using sanctions to leverage further Iranian concessions nor adopting a creditor approach will be effective against Iran,” he said.

Iran rejects ‘unfounded accusations’ against its nuclear program

Elsewhere in his remarks, Eshraq Jahromi responded to the “unfounded accusations and unacceptable statements” made by the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and others concerning Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, saying that Iran has the “inalienable right” to enjoy the peaceful use of nuclear energy like other States parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

He also censured the US and certain European countries which are actively modernizing their nuclear arsenals and extending unqualified support to the Israeli regime in violation of their NPT obligations, saying that “they have no moral ground to give those hypothetical statements on Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.”

“In fact, besides double standards and unfaithful approaches while pretending to have a passionate agenda, what could cause grave concerns in the international community is their non-compliance with their legally binding obligations,” he said.

Israeli nuclear weapons ‘a threat to Mideast’

Meanwhile, Iran's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN has also said that the Israeli regime’s nuclear weapons, developed with the United States’ support, continue to pose a serious threat to the security of Middle East states parties to the NPT.

Majid Takht-Ravanchi made the remarks on Wednesday during the third day of the tenth Review Conference.

He further urged the Review Conference to promptly address the threat posed by the Israeli regime against Iran, namely the Israeli assassination of several innocent nuclear scientists and the regime’s threats to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.

“Non-nuclear-weapon states are adhering to their non-proliferation undertakings, except for a few European parties, including Germany which hosts many nuclear weapons in its territory,” he said, adding that Iran, as a steadfast supporter of nuclear disarmament, is equally committed to nuclear non-proliferation, and supports the non-discriminatory and impartial implementation of the IAEA safeguards system.

The Tenth NPT Review Conference opened in New York on Monday and will end on August 26, 2022. It will review the progress made in the implementation of the treaty.

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