Iran not to change policy, continues to reject step-for-step removal of sanctions

Iran’s policy with regard to the sanctions has not changed, an informed source tells Press TV, noting that the country rejects a step-for-step removal of the bans, including those that were imposed under former US President Donald Trump.

“Iran, as it has repeatedly emphasized, does not accept any plan based on the notion of a step-for-step [sanctions removal] and has no such thing on the agenda,” the source, who is close to the Iranian negotiating team, told Press TV on Saturday.

The remarks were made in response to earlier comments by US State Department Ned Price, who said the administration of President Joe Biden is seeking a step-for-step return to the JCPOA.

It is very important for Washington that Iran honors its nuclear commitments, Price said in an interview with Al Jazeera TV on Saturday, adding that Washington’s proposals on the issue are based on the principle of compliance for compliance.

However, the informed source told Press TV that Iran would stop its “remedial actions” only after it can verify that all the sanctions have been removed.

He explained that the sanctions include those related to the Iran nuclear deal, also called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as well as the ones that were imposed under other labels.

The source added that different rounds of sanctions, including those that were imposed under Trump or his predecessor, Barack Obama, must be removed.

Trump began to put pressure on Iran soon after he was sworn in as US president on January 20, 2017. He threatened foreign leaders not to do business with Iran and issued new sanctions on the Islamic Republic only months into his presidency – in moves that were denounced in Tehran as violations of the multilateral nuclear deal.

He finally withdrew the US from the deal in 2018 and instituted the “highest level” of economic sanctions against Iran, prompting Tehran to take tit-for-tat – or remedial – measures in response to his bellicose Iran policy.

His successor, Biden, has promised to abandon that approach and rejoin the JCPOA. Diplomatic efforts began in Vienna early this month on the revival of the deal, US lifting of sanctions and its subsequent return to the agreement.

While the US is not an official participant in the talks, its diplomats hold regular meetings with the other signatories to the deal – except for Iran – on the sidelines of the Vienna talks. The talks, however, have not produced results yet.

Since the beginning of the talks in the Austrian capital, stark contrasts have been seen between Tehran and Washington’s positions through the remarks of the two sides’ top officials.

On Friday, NSC coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk said Washington will not take pressure off Iran until Tehran’s nuclear program is capped and its remedial measures are reversed.

“Until we get somewhere and until we have a firm commitment, and it’s very clear that Iran’s nuclear program is going to be capped, the problematic aspects reversed and back in a box, we are not going to take any of the pressure off,” McGurk said.

A day earlier, an unnamed senior US official said there will be no guarantee that a future US administration would necessarily stick to a revived JCPOA.

There will be “no such thing as a guarantee and I think, again, we have made that clear to Iran that it’s not something that the US can or will give,” the official said during a briefing.

The US official also said that “we’re not going to accept a process in which the US acts first and removes all of the sanctions that it is committed to removing before Iran does anything.”

US State Department spokesman Ned Price also said on Thursday that the US would be “prepared” to lift the sanctions that are “inconsistent” with the JCPOA if Iran resumes its compliance with the deal.

This is while Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that reviving the JCPOA requires an initial removal of the US sanctions, then Iran’s verification of the sanctions removal, and finally Tehran’s return to its nuclear obligations under the deal.

Also, according to a fact sheet released last month by the Iranian Foreign Ministry, if the US “claims interest in the JCPOA, it must abandon its unlawful violations and verifiably remove all sanctions imposed, re-imposed and re-labeled since January 20, 2017,” when Trump was sworn in as president.

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