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Iran says not indebted to any JCPOA parties, calls on US to drop addiction to sanctions

Iran says the US needs to cease its violations of the 2015 nuclear deal signed between Tehran and world powers without preconditions and drop its addiction to sanctions, stressing the Islamic Republic is not indebted to the other parties as it was fully committed to the agreement although it did not reap the benefits of the accord.

Kazem Gharibabdi, Iran’s ambassador and permanent representative to the Vienna-based international organizations, made the remarks on Wednesday during the quarterly meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

He said the US violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that endorses the Iran deal through its withdrawal from the accord, its so-called maximum pressure policy, and reimposition of sanctions, adding that such measures directly hampered efforts to normalize Iran’s economic ties, which was the main objective of the agreement.  

He noted that US violations have rendered ineffective parts of the agreement, which were supposed to shield business with Iran, and expressed regret over the failure of the European sides to find practical solutions to help compensate for the breach of the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).  

The Iranian diplomat also criticized the European parties to the JCPOA for shifting the blame onto Iran for violating the deal.  

“It is as if these countries have forgotten that it was Iran that complied with all its obligations under the agreement and did not enjoy its benefits due to US law-breaking measures and the Europeans’ inaction. Apparently, these countries seek to replace the victim with the law-breakers,” he said.

Gharibabadi expressed surprise that the Europeans demanded that Iran fulfill its obligations under the JCPOA, while they neither condemned the US for its illegal and unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal, nor asked it to lift its sanctions against the Iranian people.

“As long as sanctions continue, do not expect Iran to [show] restraint and [take] constructive action. Our nuclear activities, including enrichment at various levels and production of silicon fuel, carried out based on our right under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, are fully peaceful and are surveilled and verified by the Agency under the Safeguards [Agreement].”

“Therefore, I advise these countries not to play to the gallery and instead fulfill their unfulfilled obligations to the Iranian nation. We are not indebted to you,” he added.

He pointed to the failure of the administration of US President Joe Biden to overturn the policies of his predecessor, Donald Trump, saying it remains to be seen whether the current administration is determined and ready to abandon the US addiction to unilateral coercive action, respect international law, fulfill its commitments on sanctions removal in a comprehensive and effective manner, and make the necessary difficult decisions.

“It is crucial that the United States cease to violate its obligations under the nuclear agreement and Security Council Resolution 2231 without further delay or preconditions,” he noted.

The US has yet to make palpable measures to prove its commitment to the JCPOA since its 2018 withdrawal from the accord in defiance of international criticism.

Iran says as the party to have left the deal irrespective of international obligations, the onus is on the US to take the first step toward returning to full compliance by removing the sanctions, stressing it will resume its commitments under the JCPOA as soon as it feels the results of the sanctions removal.

Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA have held several rounds of talks in Vienna aimed at restoring the deal. Although progress has been made in the talks, certain points of contention still remain in the talks that were postponed as a new government took office in Iran in August.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman on Monday said a new round of the Vienna talks would happen “in the near future.”

EU: Lifting of nuclear-related sanctions essential part of JCPOA

Meanwhile, the European Union has called the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions an “essential” part of the JCPOA.

In a statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors meeting and verification in Iran, the EU underlined the need for the US to remove its sanctions against Iran, while calling on Tehran to fully resume its commitments.

“Alongside the verified full implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments, the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions is an essential part of the agreement,” read part of the statement.

It also voiced support for the full implementation of the JCPOA and the continuation of the Vienna talks.

“The EU reaffirms at this critical point in time its resolute commitment to and continued support for the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA and is determined to continue working with the international community to preserve this agreement of strategic importance for the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture,” it said.

“It is now more important than ever to resume the negotiations in view of a possible return of the US to the JCPOA, and the perspective of Iran’s return to full JCPOA implementation as soon as possible,” the statement added.  

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