IranMiddle East

Iran FM says time running out for US to make up for Trump-era mistakes, failed policies

Tehran has once again reiterated that time is running out for Washington to adopt a new approach towards Iran, stressing that it is up to the new US administration to learn a lesson from the failure of the so-called maximum pressure policy.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Wednesday that over the past four decades, seven successive US administrations gambled that they would force Iran into submission but they all failed.

Zarif made the remarks in a video message published on his Twitter page on the occasion of the 42nd anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution that toppled the US-backed Pahlavi regime.

Seven consecutive US presidents have bet on the myth that Iran can be forced to choose between collapse & submission.

They all lost the wager, as 42 yrs after the Islamic Revolution, we still stand strong.

My message on the anniversary of our Revolution:— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) February 10, 2021

Referring to the former US president’s “maximum pressure” policy vis-à-vis Iran, he said “Donald Trump betted on the myth that Iran is a nation that can be forced to choose between collapse and submission.”

“We have all seen the outcome of that bet. But Trump was not the first nor the second, but in fact the seventh consecutive US president who has made and lost the exact same wager,” he added.

The top Iranian diplomat said that with the new US administration in Washington, there was an opportunity for Washington “to try a new approach, but the current window is flitting.”

He said that under a law approved by the Iranian parliament, the government is soon to “take further remedial action” on “enhancement” of the country’s nuclear program and “a reduction in our cooperation with IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) the inspectors” in response to the “dismal failure” of the US and the Europeans to honor their obligations under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“It can be averted only if the United States decides to learn from Trump’s maximum failure, rather lean on it,” he noted.

Much to the dismay of the international community, Trump left the JCPOA in 2018 and unleashed the toughest ever sanctions against Iran in total disregard for international law. He also prodded other countries into cutting trade with Tehran or face Washington’s punitive measures.

Iran waited for an entire year for the remaining European parties to fulfill their end of the bargain. However, as they failed to safeguard Iran’s interests, Tehran began in May 2019 to scale back its JCPOA commitments under Articles 26 and 36 of the accord covering Tehran’s legal rights.

Trump claimed time and again in vain that his administration’s maximum pressure policy would force Iran to surrender.

His successor, Joe Biden, who was vice president when the JCPOA was signed, criticized Trump’s withdrawal from the deal and said during his presidential campaign that he hoped to return his country to the deal. But since taking office in January, his administration has taken a harder line, demanding that Tehran first resume its “compliance.”

Iran says the US needs to take the first step as it was the party that quit the deal, stressing that Washington should lift all the sanctions and not just verbally on paper before Tehran reverses its countermeasures.

Iran deputy FM: Time ‘running out’ on maintaining JCPOA

Meanwhile, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi also stressed in a recent interview with China’s Global television Network (CGTN) that there was not much time left for the US to revive the agreement.

He said that under the recently-passed law by the Iranian parliament, the government was required to start enriching uranium up to 20 percent right away, which it did almost a month ago, adding that the parliament has also decided that the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocols could be stopped two months after the law came into force.

He said that if the sanctions are not removed by the set deadline, which is February 21, then the government will stop implementing the Additional Protocols.

He said the suspension of the Additional Protocols would mean that the number of inspections and inspectors in Iran would be reduced.

Araqchi, however, stressed that Iran would still be a member of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), would still have its own Safeguard Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and inspectors would still continue their job in Iran, but not as far as the Additional Protocol would allow them.

“Now, it is up to President Biden to correct that policy. If they want to maintain JCPOA in place as a very important achievement of diplomacy and a very important instrument in non-proliferation regime, they should decide very quickly because time is running out for the reasons that I already mentioned,” he said.

He also said that Iran’s countermeasures were based on paragraph 36 of the JCPOA and were in fact “a remedy for the violation of the deal by the United States, and against the reimposition of sanctions on Iran.”

“It is not Iran who left the JCPOA, it is the US. The United States decided to cease its participation in the JCPOA. They left the table and they reimposed the sanctions. They even imposed new sanctions on Iran. Now, if their policy is to come back to the JCPOA and become again a participant, of course, they have to lift the sanctions and come back to full compliance,” he said.

He, however, said that Iran will be ready to reverse its measures once it can verify the sanctions are removed.

“So I think if you just reasonably consider the situation, everybody would say that it is the US who should come back first. Once they are back and have lifted sanctions against Iran, and we verify that sanctions are gone, then we are ready to quickly and swiftly go back to full compliance with the JCPOA,” he said.

The Iranian diplomat also rejected a request for the inclusion of other issues in the deal, saying the JCPOA was a done deal.

“When we negotiated the JCPOA together with China, Russia, the Europeans and the United States, all of us decided for a reason not to engage in any other subjects beyond Iran’s nuclear program. This is why the JCPOA was a success. We are not prepared to engage in any other subjects, being regional issues, our defense capabilities, whatsoever, especially since the US has proved to be an unworthy party in negotiations. And the Europeans have proved that they are not able to deliver their promises,” he said.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Sunday that Iran will retrace its nuclear countermeasures once the United States lifts its sanctions in a manner that could be verifiable by Tehran.

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