Iran’s Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdollahian says the US draft on returning to a 2015 nuclear deal sent to Iran “contained a lot of ambiguities,” and required that Tehran make further elaboration for “transparency” to be achieved.
“After we received the comments of the American side, we saw that in terms of some issues that are key and fundamental to us, the text provided by the United States ... has a lot of ambiguities,” he told IRNA in an interview published Friday.
In response, he said, Iran tried to “strengthen” the text to further clarify it, in such a way that the “balance” does not change.
“We did not change the content. The framework of the agreement was maintained, while containing our red lines.”
Amir-Abdollahian said, “One of the dimensions of strengthening the text was transparency, in such a manner that when the text is published, 10 interpretations should not come out of it.”
Moreover, those who read the text should mostly feel that they have a single understanding and interpretation of it, he added.
Four days of Vienna talks between representatives of Iran and the five remaining parties to the nuclear deal culminated on August 8 with a modified text on the table. The negotiations had resumed after several months of impasse.
“The important thing for us is that we did not negotiate for the sake of negotiations. We negotiated in order to reach a point where the sanctions would be lifted and we would be able to enjoy the economic benefits of the JCPOA, which the Islamic Republic of Iran has not received yet since 2015,” Amir-Abdollahian said.
Amir-Abdollahian said the US clearly states that “what we agree on will be valid until the end of the Biden administration, and that the US will not have guarantees for the next administration”.
He reiterated that the issue of guarantees is very important to Iran in negotiations on the revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
According to the Iranian foreign minister, one of the issues seriously being considered by most parties is where the talks are heading and where things will end up.
“We are serious about reaching an agreement and we will not hesitate to reach a good, strong and stable agreement. We will continue our efforts; we will not leave the negotiating table. It is the American side that must show now whether it has the necessary courage to make a decision on this issue or not.”
Amir-Abdollahian said the US should make it clear whether it seeks security in the region and an agreement, or thinks it could simultaneously exploit ‘made-up’ scenarios where foreign players try to meddle and cause chaos and unrest, in reference to the latest foreign exploitation of unfortunate death of Mahsa Amini in police custody.
The minister said during the past months, some foreign ministers have tried to convey messages from the US and vice versa, with the Iraqi foreign minister being one of them.
“We are now at a point where the American side is talking about goodwill, and that they have the necessary goodwill to reach an agreement, but it is important for us that this goodwill is translated into action,” the minister stated.
He reiterated that Iran is serious about an agreement, but does not know if the American side has the necessary realism and courage to achieve it.
Asked on whether a prisoner swap between Iran and the US is strictly to take place within the framework of the JCPOA, the Iranian minister said Iran has made it clear from the very beginning that the prisoners issue is completely a humanitarian one and should be dealt with separately.
“At one stage, the American side insisted that this issue should be related to the framework of the JCPOA, and perhaps they were looking for this exchange to be done as part of the process at the same time as the agreement was announced. We have no such insistence. Whenever the American side is ready, we are ready to exchange detainees and prisoners in the context of a humanitarian step,” Amir-Abdollahian noted.
Commenting on a meeting between the Iranian and French presidents on the sideline of the UN General Assembly, the Iranian FM said, “In this meeting, Mr. Macron was trying to put his ideas forward. He first tried to hear the Iranian side's point of view from the president, and then, he put forward the ideas that come to his mind that can perhaps help in reaching the point of agreement.”
According to Amir-Abdollahian, the two sides discussed various topics, part of which was related to the JCPOA and the lifting of sanctions. However, he pointed out that throughout the past year, the two presidents have kept in touch, where Macron has sometimes tried to put initiatives on the table and discuss them.
Arming neither side in Ukraine conflict
The foreign minister addressed accusations that Iran had provided Russia with hundreds of drones to use in its war with Ukraine.
“We have defense cooperation with Russia, but the Islamic Republic of Iran does not accept any action that aims to expand war or intensify war conditions in Ukraine,” he said.
“We have no policy of arming one side against the other in the Ukraine war and we continue our efforts to establish peace, stability and tranquility in Ukraine.”
Amir-Abdollahian said, “In the same vein that we condemn the war and displacement in Afghanistan and Yemen, we strongly oppose the war in Ukraine while understanding its roots.”