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Iran Rejects Saudi Involvement in N. Talks, Urges France to Revise Arms Sales Resulting in Massacre of Innocents in Yemen

Iran strongly ruled out the presence of Saudis in the nuclear negotiations, calling on France to reconsider its policies on arms sales to the Persian Gulf Arab states, including Riyadh, which has led to the massacre of thousands of innocent women and children in Yemen and elsewhere.

“The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is a multilateral international agreement endorsed by the UNSC Resolution 2231 and is by no means renegotiable and the parties to it are all clear and unchangeable,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Saturday, adding, “French-made arms, and those made by other Western countries, are the cause of massacre of tens of thousands of Yemenis.”

Khatibzadeh stressed that Western weapons are the main source of bloodshed and instability in the Persian Gulf, emphasizing that unless the flood of these weapons is being stopped, no peace and stability can be expected in the region.

Khatibzadeh made the remarks in reaction to French President Emmanuel Macron’s remarks who had said in an interview with al-Arabiya television on Friday that any new negotiations on the 2015 nuclear deal would be very “tough” and should include France’s regional allies, like Saudi Arabia.

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

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.

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