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Iran says serious about returning to JCPOA if other sides ready

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (L) shakes hands with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at UN Headquarters in New York on September 23, 2023. (Photo by the Iranian Foreign Ministry)

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has expressed Iran’s preparedness to return to full compliance with its commitments to the 2015 nuclear agreement if the other parties to the US-abandoned deal are also ready to do so.

During a meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at UN Headquarters in New York on Saturday, Amir-Abdollahian highlighted Iran’s recent prisoners’ exchange with the US and the release of billions of Iranian assets illegally frozen in South Korea.

“The exchange of messages continues with the US and the initiative by the Sultan of Oman is still on the table. If the other parties are ready, we are serious about returning to the JCPOA so that all sides return to their obligations within the framework of Oman’s initiative,” he said, referring to the accord by the acronym of its official name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The top Iranian diplomat also emphasized that the Islamic Republic has always had good consultations with the UN chief regarding the JCPOA.

Former US President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the JCPOA in May 2018, imposing severe economic sanctions against Tehran while Iran was adhering to its commitments under the deal and even continued to do so for a year after the US withdrawal.

Tehran scaled back its commitments to the JCPOA in a series of pre-announced and clear steps after witnessing the other parties’ failure to secure its interest under the agreement.

The talks aimed at reviving the agreement have been on pause since August 2022, with Iran blaming a lack of political will on the part of US President Joe Biden’s administration to undo the damage caused to the multilateral accord by the previous US administration.

‘Iran not after nuclear bombs’

Touching on Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities, Amir-Abdollahian asserted that atomic bombs have no place in Iran’s defense doctrine.

“Whenever the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) operates within a technical framework, things move in the right direction. However, things go awry whenever others prioritize their own political agendas over the agency’s professional affairs,” he added.

‘Iran committed to all countries’ territorial integrity’

The foreign minister further referred to the Ukraine crisis, saying that Iran abides by the territorial integrity of all countries, including Ukraine.

Guterres, for his part, expressed his satisfaction with the meeting.

He also thanked Amid-Abdollahian for his diplomatic initiatives meant to resolve problems and remove obstacles in relations between countries.

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