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EU, US shamelessly claim they ‘support’ JCPOA, turning deaf ear to Iran’s demands

The European Union and the United States have repeated their mere expression of support for the Iran nuclear deal that Washington ditched in 2018, while jointly voicing “concerns” over Tehran’s legal counter-measures, without making any mention of the party that first triggered the diplomatic crisis surrounding the agreement.

Speaking at a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Brussels on Wednesday, EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell said the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), “remains a key achievement of multilateral diplomacy despite existing difficulties.”

He added that the agreement is a “masterpiece of diplomacy” despite difficulties, which have been caused following the US unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA in 2018.

“As Coordinator of the JCPOA, I welcome the Secretary’s reaffirmation that the US is ready to engage and the prospect of a US return to the JCPOA. We will work on that,” Borrell said.

He expressed concern over Iran’s continued departure from its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA and added that the EU and US voiced their full support for the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to verify Tehran’s nuclear activities.

The two sides, however, stopped short of highlighting the root cause of the situation surrounding the Iran deal, which began in May 2018, when the US under ex-president Trump pulled out of the agreement and imposed the “toughest ever” sanctions on Iran as part of his so-called “maximum pressure,” which tried in vain to force Iran back to the negotiating table for talks on a “better deal.”

Iran continued to fully comply with the deal for a year after the US’s withdrawal for the remaining parties to compensate for Washington’s absence and confront the sanctions restored on Iran.

However, despite throwing verbal support behind the JCPOA, the European parties to the deal — France, Britain and Germany — ultimately succumbed to Washington’s pressure and failed to fulfill their contractual commitments to Tehran, mainly by confronting the American sanctions.

That promoted Tehran to begin a set of retaliatory measures in several stages as part of its legal rights stipulated in Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA. The latest such measure was the halt in the implementation of the Additional Protocol, which was required by a parliament-adopted law.

New US President Joe Biden has repeatedly spoken of a willingness to rejoin the Iran deal, but, in practice, he has so far been sticking with Trump’s futile pressure campaign. Washington says Tehran should return to full compliance with the deal before the US comes back.

Iran has made it clear on numerous occasions that it cannot trust the US any more, calling on Washington to act responsibly as the party that threw the deal in crisis and lift the sanctions to regain the right to be a JCPOA party.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Sunday that the United States must first lift all sanctions it has imposed on Tehran after unilaterally withdrawing from the JCPOA before the Islamic Republic would return to full compliance with its commitments under the deal.

According to a joint press release on the meeting between Borrell and Blinken, the US secretary of state once again claimed that Washington was ready to reengage in “meaningful” diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA by the United States and Iran.

It said the two sides expressed support for the ongoing diplomatic efforts and the contacts of Borell as the JCPOA coordinator with all relevant partners to ensure the deal’s full implementation and lifting of sanctions imposed by the US on Iran.

“The United States expressed readiness to engage in result-oriented discussions to that end,” the statement added.

In February, Ayatollah Khamenei had reaffirmed that Iran will not accept mere verbal promises in the case of the 2015 nuclear agreement this time around and needs to see action on the part of the other deal parties, given the many instances of counterparty non-compliance the country has faced.

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