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National interests ‘our red line’ in JCPOA revival talks: Amir-Abdollahian

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 speaks in a meeting with Iranian nationals residing in Serbia in Belgrade on December 6, 2022.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says Iran would only accept a ‘sustainable agreement’ that would secure its red lines in the course of talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, which was unilaterally abandoned by the United States three years after its conclusion.

“We do not seek an agreement that is not sustainable and fails to benefit Iranians. Our red lines are definitely nothing but guaranteeing the interests of the Iranian nation,” Amir-Abdollahian said in a Monday meeting in Belgrade with Iranian nationals residing in Serbia.

He also said despite the West’s unfair sanctions, Iran is in a good condition regarding its oil and non-oil exports.

The talks to salvage the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), kicked off in the Austrian capital of Vienna in April last year with the intention of examining Washington’s seriousness in rejoining the deal and removing anti-Iran sanctions.

The talks remain stalled since August, while Washington has continued to insist on its hard-nosed position of not removing all sanctions slapped on the Islamic Republic by the previous US administration.

On Monday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani reiterated the Islamic Republic’s commitment to the JCPOA revival talks but made it clear that Tehran is not willing to negotiate under pressure and threats.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Amir-Abdollahian said his two-day visit to Serbia aimed to accelerate the improvement of mutual relations. He expressed hope that a new chapter would open in bilateral ties after a scheduled visit by the Serbian president to Tehran.

Iran’s “balanced” foreign policy is based on shifting toward neighboring and Asian countries, the foreign minister said, emphasizing that Tehran is present wherever its national interests are preserved.

“We are present in the West and East proportionate to our interests,” the top Iranian diplomat said.

Pointing to the unrest in Iran, which was sparked by the death of a young Iranian woman in police custody over two months ago, Amir-Abdollahian raised serious doubts about claims by the United States and the West to care about her death.

He said a Western national was arrested in Iran who claimed that he had been tasked by his country’s intelligence services to spread chaos across Iran to force Tehran to accept the West’s conditions in the negotiations to revive the JCPOA.

“Peaceful demands must be met within the framework of Iran’s duties and the Constitution,” the top Iranian diplomat emphasized.

He also said 67 Iranian police forces have been killed and thousands of others injured by American and Israeli weapons since the outbreak of the riots because the police were not allowed to use lethal weapons.

According to Amir-Abdollahian, the US and some of its Western allies have divided terrorism and riots into good and bad. “If [riots] occur with firearms in Iran, they are good,” he said, sarcastically.

In similar comments on Sunday, Kan’ani lashed out at Western officials for cheering rioters in independent states while suppressing peaceful protesters in their own countries.

“Officials of [Western] regimes who have coups, conspiracies, interventions, and devastating wars with millions of deaths in their history are now pretending to be defenders of human rights in other countries,” he tweeted.

Protests broke out in several Iranian cities after the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who died in hospital three days after she collapsed in a police station in Tehran. An investigation later attributed her death to her medical condition, dismissing allegations that she had been beaten by police forces.

Despite Iranian officials’ clarification on the circumstances surrounding Amini’s death, violent street protests have led to attacks on security officers and acts of vandalism against public property and sanctities.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic has strongly censured several countries for provoking the riots through their spy agencies and propaganda apparatus. London, in particular, hosts several anti-Iran networks, including Iran International, Manoto, and BBC Persian.


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