Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says Americans are sending messages, stressing that they are “in hurry” to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, while “hypocritically” hoodwinking the Western media that the accord is not a priority for them currently.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday on the sidelines of a cabinet session in Tehran, Amir-Abdollahian pointed to the latest developments in the stalled talks on reviving the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and lifting sanctions.
Messages with the American side are constantly being exchanged, he asserted, adding that the last message was conveyed "in the past 72 hours".
“Americans are sending messages through some foreign ministers that they are in hurry for [returning to] the JCPOA, but when Rob Malley speaks to media, he hypocritically says the JCPOA ‘is not our focus right now’ and points to provocations that they seek to have about riots … in Iran,” said the top diplomat.
Americans are pursuing a “completely clear” objective and that is to “exert pressure on us so that we would cross our redlines,” Amir-Abdollahian added.
“What is important for us in the negotiations is the national interests of people,” Amir-Abdollahian hastened to add. “However, we will strongly continue our efforts for removal of sanctions through negotiations."
The stalemate on the nuclear deal was triggered in May 2018, when former US president Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the accord reached between Iran and the world powers and imposed harsh economic sanctions against the country under the so-called “maximum pressure” policy.
The talks to salvage the agreement kicked off in the Austrian capital 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 anti-Iran sanctions.
The talks remain stalled since August, as Washington continues to insist on its hard-nosed position of not removing all sanctions that were slapped on the Islamic Republic by the previous US administration.
Iran's top diplomat noted that the country will use the opportunity to revive the deal if other parties “return to their commitments” and “it "works well for us.”
Iran has demanded that the United States provide assurances that it would not leave the JCPOA again before it could reenter the agreement. Washington has refused to give a legally enforceable guarantee, leaving Iranian negotiators suspicious of the Biden administration’s seriousness in the talks.
“We did not hold talks for the sake of talks but for results,” Amir-Abdollahian stressed, also advising Malley and other US officials to "end hypocrisy."
The remarks come as Malley reiterated on Monday Washington’s contradictory stance vis-à-vis Iran and said his country would leave the door open to resume diplomacy “when and if” the time came, but for now it would continue a policy of sanctions and pressure in dealing with Tehran.
He blamed Iran for the nuclear talks' failure to bear fruit. “If these negotiations are not happening, it's because of Iran's position and everything that has happened since (September),” said Malley.
He added that the United States’ focus has shifted away from reviving the JCPOA over claims that Iran is allegedly cracking down on protesters and selling drones to Russia to be used in the war in Ukraine, both of which Tehran has vehemently rejected.
“Our focus is not an accord that isn’t moving forward, but what is happening in Iran,” he said.
Late last month, the US envoy for Iran said that nuclear negotiations with Iran were not currently a priority for the Joe Biden administration.
"It’s really not our focus right now. It’s not on the agenda, because nothing has changed," Malley said.
Tehran has strongly slammed Washington's interfering in Iran's internal affairs and instigating violence and riots in the country. A report by two top intelligence bodies in the country pointed to the leading role of the CIA in violent riots in Iran in the past two months.