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Iran: No talks needed on US return to JCPOA, only sanctions removal counts

A senior Iranian diplomat says the United States’ possible return to a 2015 nuclear agreement signed between Tehran and major world states does not require any negotiations since Washington held no consultations with anyone before its withdrawal from the multilateral deal in 2018.

“In our opinion, the US return to the nuclear agreement does not require any meeting. Did the Americans hold talks with anyone when they withdrew from the agreement? Did they hold a meeting?…We believe that there is no need for negotiations or any meeting,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi told Sputnik on Thursday.

Araqchi — who served as a senior negotiator during the talks in the run-up to the deal — said there is a “simple” solution to the current dispute over the agreement, and that is for the American side to return to the JCPOA and lift all the sanctions it has re-imposed on Tehran.

“After that Iran will once again abide by its obligations after verifying the US credibility in this regard,” the Iranian official added.

The future of the JCPOA has been in doubt since May 2018, when the US under ex-president Donald 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.”

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 the parliament-adopted law.

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

Iran says the Biden administration needs to take the first step towards the deal — if it seriously wants to rejoin the JCPOA — by lifting the sanctions that the former team at the White House restored against the Islamic Republic.

Iranian officials say once Iran can verify the sanctions removal, it will reverse its countermeasures.

He also a meeting of the remaining signatories to nuclear deal is possible at any time.

“Over the previous years, the Joint Commission on the nuclear agreement had held a regular session every three months, and we also used to conduct unofficial emergency meetings. There is no issue to hold a meeting with the current members, or consult with them and exchange opinions,” the Iranian diplomat explained.

He emphasized that the US can take part in these sessions only if it lifts the anti-Iran sanctions.

An informed security source told Press TV on condition of anonymity on Sunday that there will be no negotiations between Iran and the United States on any matter before Washington removes all illegal sanctions it has unilaterally imposed on Tehran.

“The idea of a step-by-step plan for starting talks between Iran and the United States has been rejected at the highest levels of the Islamic Republic and there will be no contact between Iran and the US before sanctions are removed,” the security official added.

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