President Ebrahim Raeisi says an agreement on the revival of the Iran nuclear deal hinges on the settlement of safeguards issues between Tehran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Without settling those issues, reviving the 2015 deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) makes no sense, Raeisi said at a press conference on Monday attended by domestic journalists as well as correspondents from foreign media outlets in the capital Tehran.
“Negotiations are underway within the same framework and focused on the removal of sanctions. We insist on verification and confidence-building measures during the course of negotiations. We also emphasize on the full resolution of safeguard issues. This is an important issue, and any talk of an agreement would have not meaning unless issues are resolved.”
In a move cheered by the regime in Tel Aviv, the United States under former president Donald Trump abandoned the JCPOA in May 2018 and reinstated unilateral sanctions that the agreement had lifted under what he called the “maximum pressure” policy against Tehran.
The talks to salvage the agreement kicked off in the Austrian capital city of Vienna in April last year, months after Joe Biden succeeded Trump, with the intention of examining Washington’s seriousness in rejoining the deal and removing the anti-Iran sanctions.
Despite notable progress, Washington’s indecisiveness has postponed reaching an agreement between the negotiating parties.
During the presser on Monday, Raeisi also dismissed Israeli threats against Tehran, emphasizing that nobody can deprive the Iranian nation of its inalienable right to access peaceful nuclear technology.
“We have stated times and again that nuclear weapons have no place in our nuclear doctrine. The Leader of the Islamic Revolution (Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei) has frequently announced that the acquisition of such armament is religiously forbidden. We also declared in our foreign policy that these munitions have no place in our foreign policy,” he underlined.
Raeisi added that the Islamic Republic of Iran has made great progress in various sectors of the nuclear industry, namely in the oil and energy fields, and the achievements were recently put on display during an exhibition.
“The Zionist regime has long been opposed to Iran acquiring the right [to nuclear technology]. But this know-how has been indigenized in our country, and cannot be taken from us in any way.”
“Their threats will not go anywhere. The assassination of nuclear scientists was aimed at stopping this trend. A lot of sabotage acts were carried out in order to stop us, but we didn’t stop. They cannot stop us to assert this definite right,” the Iranian president said.
Iran pursuing removal, neutralization of sanctions simultaneously: Raeisi
Denouncing the US sanctions as illegal and brutal, Raeisi stated that the Iranian negotiating team will not leave the negotiating table in the talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal and lifting the bans.
“We are following up on the neutralization of sanctions and have set up a headquarters under the management of First Vice President [Mohammad Mokhber] for that purpose. We are also pursuing the removal of sanctions through the Foreign Ministry and [Vienna] negotiations.”
President Raeisi also said many of the sanctions that were aimed to restrain Iran fell flat due to the country’s resistance.
“We do not recognize any limitations for ourselves in this regard,” he asserted. “The level of our interactions with regional countries has increased up to 5 times. Our oil exports are in a state where we feel we should do our best and continue to export oil and non-oil commodities.”
Raeisi also demanded the release of Iran’s assets frozen abroad as a result of Washington’s actions, saying, “We did not leave the negotiating table for sanctions removal. Negotiations are for the sake of removing the sanctions. Those who abandoned their commitments should return and fulfill their obligations. Our emphasis in these negotiations is on the removal of sanction.”
The Iranian president then went on to stress that there would be no benefit in meeting with his US counterpart Joe Biden on the sidelines of the forthcoming 77th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
“Earlier, I stated and declared it once again that there will be no benefit for Iran and the Iranian nation in such a meeting with him,” Raeisi said.
‘Israel cannot even resist against Palestinian stone-throwing’
Elsewhere in his remarks, Raeisi highlighted the Israeli regime’s impotence in protecting itself against Palestinian people’s stone-throwing, let alone their “precision strike missiles.”
“The Zionists need to take a look around. Can they ensure their security? Gazans, although under siege, can defend themselves. But can [the Zionists] defend themselves against [Gazans]?” he asked.
“If the Zionists could stand up against Palestinian groups, why did they cowardly assassinate [Iran’s top anti-terror commander] General Qassem Soleimani then?” Raeisi added.
The president also emphasized that Israeli officials would not find any opportunity to take an action against Iran.
“They should see whether anything of them would be left once they decide to attack Iran,” he stated.
Iran-China ties free from outside influence: Iran president
Raeisi also stressed that Iran-China ties are fully independent of any third-party influence, noting that the relations between Tehran and Beijing are not affected by what is going on in the international arena.
He said that the bilateral ties exist in various areas, especially in commercial and economic areas, and should be further expanded.
The Iranian president also referred to the 25-year comprehensive cooperation agreement between the two nations, stressing that Tehran is determined to implement the deal besides the partnership treaties that it has already signed with Beijing.
As for Iran’s full membership of in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Raeisi said, “Our presence in the SCO and cooperation with its member states are of great importance. It connects us to the economic infrastructure of Asia. It is very important for our country to have its own share of trade and economy in the region.”
‘Foreign presence in region creates problems’
Raisi also reiterated that Tehran and Moscow enjoy strategic cooperation in various areas, have exchanged documents, and started joint work in the development of energy fields.
“Iran has been pursuing the policy of good neighborliness…Foreign presence in the region creates problems, and does not provide security for regional states,” he said.
Raeisi also noted that fence-mending negotiations between senior representatives from Iran and Saudi Arabia are ongoing in the Iraqi capital Baghdad in order to resolve differences between the two countries and restore diplomatic relations.
The Iranian president finally stated that Tehran and Ankara enjoy good bilateral ties and closely cooperate with each other concerning regional issues and developments.
“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised to pursue joint water diplomacy with neighbors,” Raeisi said.
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