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Iran Rejects Envoy’s Talks with US Officials

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed French media claims that the country’s UN envoy has held talks with the US officials, stressing that Washington should implement its nuclear deal undertakings, which requires no negotiations.

Zarif told reporters on the sidelines of the cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday that despite the claims made by the correspondent of the French newspaper Le Figaro, Iran’s Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi has held no talks with the US or delivered no messages to the American officials from Iran. 

“It is three weeks that Majid Takht-Ravanchi is in Tehran and that reporter has made baseless claims,” he said. 

Asked about the US-Iran disagreements about the JCPOA, Zarif said, “There is no need to negotiations at all. What has happened is that the US government has broken its obligations. Based on the remarks of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, if they [Americans] remove the sanctions, there will be no problem from our view.”

“Biden is responsible for removing the sanctions and if he lifts the sanction, Iran will return to the JCPOA,” he noted.

In a response to a question that Biden has claimed to seek a stronger deal with Iran that would include the missile and regional issues, Zarif said “We have a firm deal that the UNSC has ratified it and we have discussed all of its articles.”

“America should stop the policy of what belongs to me is mine and we can negotiate on what belongs to you,” he stressed.

He noted that Iran has separated the regional and missile program issues from the nuclear deal talks, and said, “That’s why we agreed to extend the arms limitations for up to five years and the missile limitations for up to eight years.”

“The new US administration and the Europeans should know that Iran is not the region’s problem but they are.”

“The problem with weapons in our region is not due to the limited amount of weaponry that Iran produces, but the sales of their weapons have turned the region into a tinderbox,” Zarif said.

“The Trump administration is going to the dustbin of history today. The American people sent this government to the dustbin of history. This is a government that did harm the US Congress and the center of democracy to achieve its goals.”

The US B-52 bombers patrol in the region, which has been carried out to intimidate Iran, is highly costly for the Americans, Zarif warned, adding that Iran will never start aggression or war but will resist pressure and will give a harsh response to threats and aggressors. 

Asked about the mediation of Qatar between Iran and the US, Zarif said, “There would be no mediation, Qatar has offered talks and we have said we always support talks.”

He reiterated that the Biden administration should return the conditions to the pre-Trump era. “It was the Americans who worsened the situation and they should make up for everything per se. This is not Iran’s problem.”

“We are not looking for paperwork and bureaucracy, we are not looking for signatures, we are looking for action,” he underscored.

“As soon as the US fulfills its obligations, we will fulfill ours, too,” he added.

In relevant remarks earlier today, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani voiced pleasure with the end of outgoing US President Donald Trump’s tenure, saying that the new administration in the White House should take the opportunity to implement all Washington’s nuclear deal undertakings.

“Today, thanks God, Trump’s black page will be closed forever, and we say thanks God when any oppressor is overthrown,” Rouhani said, addressing a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday.

He added that during his 4-year tenure, Trump left no legacy but making the US society bipolar, adding that Washington DC has become a military garrison for the swearing-in ceremony of the new president and all these Armed Forces have come to establish security in this city, and this is one of the fruits of Trump’s naive or authoritarian actions.

“We have never seen a president in the US who explicitly admits assassination of a major military commander (General Soleimani) in another guest country (Iraq) to make the official announcement that he had ordered the assassination. I mean, we really saw a stupid terrorist in history, and state terrorism was recorded in the forehead of the White House, and he did it,” Rouhani said.

He called on the new US administration to return to the international laws, undertakings and the UNSC resolutions, specially Resolution 2231, and said, “Of course, if they return to the law, our answer will be positive, and if they show their sincerity in action based on the law, the resolution that they voted for and the undertakings that they have signed, we will naturally fulfill all our undertakings too.”

Rouhani referred to Trump’s economic terrorism against Iran which even blocked the country’s purchase of medicine and vaccine, and said, “Thanks God, they have failed. Today, we see that despite all these pressures, our non-oil exports path is normalizing, and our oil exports are much better than the previous months, and our oil products export are moving in the right direction and this means complete failure of this policy.”

He said that Trump was not a politician but was a businessman and a tower builder, adding that the new US administration includes people who are familiar with political affairs.

“If they give a signature on their undertakings under the Resolution 2231, they will see a signature in Iran, and if they issue a decree, they will see a decree for it in Iran too, nothing more; if they fulfill their undertakings effectively, they will witness effective implementation of all undertakings by this side too. Today the ball is in the US and Washington’s court,” President Rouhani stressed.

He noted that Trump’s political life has ended and the nuclear deal is still alive, adding, “He made every attempt to destroy the nuclear deal but he failed, and the extremists in Israel and Saudi Arabia all sought this but failed, and the nuclear deal is alive and well today better than yesterday.”

Rouhani stressed that the maximum pressure policy has failed completely.

Iran signed the JCPOA with six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia, and China — in 2015. 

Outgoing US President Donald Trump, a stern critic of the historic deal, unilaterally pulled Washington out of the JCPOA in May 2018, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism in an attempt to strangle the Iranian oil trade, but to no avail since its “so-called maximum pressure policy” has failed to push Tehran to the negotiating table.

In response to the US’ unilateral move, Tehran has so far rowed back on its nuclear commitments four times in compliance with Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, but stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the mutual trade from the US sanctions.

Tehran has particularly been disappointed with failure of the three European signatories to the JCPOA — Britain, France and Germany — to protect its business interests under the deal after the US’ withdrawal.

On January 5, Iran took a final step in reducing its commitments, and said it would no longer observe any operational limitations on its nuclear industry, whether concerning the capacity and level of uranium enrichment, the volume of stockpiled uranium or research and development.

Meantime, Biden has recently said in a CNN article that he wants a renegotiation of the contents of the deal before he agrees to rejoin the agreement.

“I will offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy. If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations. With our allies, we will work to strengthen and extend the nuclear deal’s provisions, while also addressing other issues of concern,” he wrote, mentioning that he wants changes to the contents of the nuclear deal and guarantees from Tehran that it would be open for compromise to strike multiple deals over its missile and regional powers as well as a number of other issues that have been the bones of contention between the two sides in the last four decades.

In response, Zarif had stressed that the US has violated the nuclear deal and is in no position to ask for any conditions for its return to the JCPOA, adding that it’s Tehran that has its own terms to allow the US back into the internationally endorsed agreement.

The foreign minister has reiterated time and again that Tehran would not change even a single word of the agreement, and cautioned the US that it needs to pay reparations for the damage it has inflicted on Iran through its retreat from the nuclear agreement and give enough insurances that it would not go for initiating the trigger mechanism again before it could get back to the deal.

In relevant remarks earlier this month, Spokesman for the AEOI Behrouz Kamalvandi said his country enjoys the capability to produce 120 kg of uranium with 20% purity in 8 months, that’s 4 months faster than the one-year period required by a recent parliament approval.

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