Head of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations Kamal Kharazi made the remarks in a meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati on the sidelines of the 20th edition of the Doha Forum international conference in the Qatari capital on Monday.
“Issues like practical guarantees, lifting of sanctions, and removal of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) from the US list of so-called foreign terrorist organizations are the critical points that must be resolved before any agreement on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” Kharazi asserted.
The Vienna talks began almost a year ago with the aim of bringing the US into full compliance with the JCPOA, commonly known as the Iran deal. The US left the JCPOA in 2018 under former president Donald Trump and re-imposed the sanctions that the deal had lifted.
The administration of Joe Biden has rebuked Trump’s withdrawal from the deal and insisted on re-entering the deal, all while dragging the talks via its failure to provide Iran with guarantees that Washington will not exit the JCPOA again.
Throughout the talks, Iran has pressed the US for the guarantees as well as the establishment of a verification mechanism on the removal of sanctions.
Kharazi pointed to the latest developments in Lebanon and the Middle East region, saying, “The key to Lebanon’s problems lies in the cessation of foreign interference and holding national dialogs.”
Mikati, for his part, expressed hope for the removal of all sanctions against Iran, stating that the country would play a strong role in the regional economy once the bans are lifted.
He briefed Kharazi on the problems facing Lebanon and highlighted the need for national cohesion and unity in the face of the woes.
Kharazi also met Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani to discuss regional developments and bilateral ties. During the meeting, he stressed the need to boost Tehran-Doha ties.
In remarks on Sunday, Kharazi said the IRGC must be definitely removed from the US list of foreign terrorist organizations in order to restore the JCPOA.
The former foreign minister said the IRGC is a national army and thus its designation is unacceptable.
Iran, he said, will not back down from efforts to secure the removal of the IRGC from the list.
“A nuclear deal is imminent, but issues depend on America’s political will. There must be guarantees that the US will not withdraw from the nuclear deal once again in the future,” he added.
Kharazi stressed that the US policy of “maximum pressure” has failed and that the Islamic Republic will need time to verify the removal of the sanctions.