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Iran’s Deputy FM: US must lift sanctions in one step before Iran resumes full compliance with JCPOA

Iran’s deputy foreign minister for political affairs says the United States has to remove all unilateral and illegal sanctions it has imposed on Iran in one step before expecting the Islamic Republic to resume full compliance with the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Abbas Araqchi made the remarks during an interview with Press TV in Vienna on Thursday after a meeting with Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi.

“The US must lift anti-Iran sanctions [and only] then Tehran would resume compliance with [the] JCPOA,” the Iranian deputy foreign minister said.

Back in May 2018, the JCPOA was nixed in bad faith by former US President Donald Trump, who opted for a confrontational policy of “maximum pressure” against the Islamic Republic, which included tough economic sanctions and deliberate provocations.

Iran remained compliant with all of its nuclear commitments for an entire year, but in response to the US measures and as the other parties to the deal – especially the European trio – failed to live up to their commitments and protect Iran’s interests, Tehran began to respond by reducing its nuclear undertakings under Article 36 of the JCPOA.

Araqchi further told Press TV that as long as the US has not removed all its sanctions and not returned to the JCPOA none of Iran’s nuclear activities, especially in the field of uranium enrichment, will stop or even slow down.

He noted that production of 20 percent uranium is going on at full speed and at a speed higher than what the Iranian parliament had asked for, and will continue like that until an agreement is reached and the US removes all its sanctions in one step.

He added, “Our talks continue with Europe, Russia and China. It is not right that they say we talk to Europeans and they, in turn, talk to the US. We are negotiating with the current members of the JCPOA – that is, three European countries plus Russia and China – and the European Union, which coordinates the JCPOA. Then they talk to Americans in their own way and inform them of the result.”

Araqchi said there are signs indicating that Americans are reviewing their stances and moving toward removal of all sanctions, “but negotiations have not reached a conclusion yet.”

“I think we have a longer road ahead of us although our movement is forward and the general atmosphere governing negotiations in a constructive one,” he added.

Asked about the results of Tuesday talks between Iran and other remaining members of the JCPOA on ways to revive the nuclear deal, Araqchi noted that talks on the JCPOA are still far from conclusion but are progressing well.

The latest round of negotiations come months after a new US administration came into the White House. The administration of Joe Biden has criticized the “maximum pressure” campaign and vowed to repeal it and rejoin the JCPOA.https://if-cdn.com/rggYk5F?v=1&app=1

Elsewhere in his remarks, Araqchi also told Press TV correspondent that Iran and the remaining members of the JCPOA will meet again on Friday to continue their talks.

“Our experts have had intensive discussions in the past two days,” he said. “Today, they continued, and I think tomorrow morning we would be in a position to evaluate what they have done so far and to see how we should continue.”

Araqchi explaind that the diplomats will have a two- or three-day break after the Friday meeting, which will be followed by the next round of negotiations.https://if-cdn.com/kcY6nYL?v=1&app=1

Araqchi is in Vienna as head of Iran’s delegation to attend the Joint Commission of the JCPOA, with the aim of working out a plan to revive the deal.

On Tuesday, the Iranian delegation held the first round of the talks with the other remaining signatories to the JCPOA. The meeting was described as “constructive” by Araqchi and some other diplomats, and another meeting was scheduled for Friday in the Austrian capital.

The US administration also sent a delegation headed by its special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, to Vienna to coordinate its promised return to the JCPOA with the other parties to the nuclear deal, but he did not attend the meeting. Iran has rejected talks with the US as long as Washington remains in violation of the accord.

Araqchi holds ‘constructive’ meeting with IAEA chief

Araqchi also met with Grossi on Thursday. The meeting was attended by Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations, and Behzad Saberi, the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s director general for international legal affairs.

After the meeting, Grossi said he had a thorough conversation with Araqchi and the IAEA will continue its professional technical verification and monitoring in Iran in support of the JCPOA.

Thorough exchange with Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister @araghchi on current consultations and ongoing bilateral activities in #Iran. The @IAEAorg will continue its professional technical verification and monitoring in Iran, in support of #JCPOA and other matters. pic.twitter.com/luBTv8e1PK— Rafael MarianoGrossi (@rafaelmgrossi) April 8, 2021

For his part, Araqchi said he had a very useful and constructive meeting with Grossi, during which he briefed the IAEA chief on the latest situation in the current negotiations with JCPOA participants.

“Obviously, the agency is going to have a very important role in the verification of activities by Iran if we come to an agreement,” he told Press TV.

The top Iranian negotiator further said Iran had some outstanding questions that it needed to coordinate with the IAEA, but stressed Iran’s determination to continue its engagement with the agency.

Araqchi also voiced confidence that Iran and the IAEA would be able to resolve the remaining issues as soon as possible.

“I expressed Iran’s good faith and readiness to get engaged with the agency in this regard, and I think we are on a good track,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Russia’s permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations said there are two expert-level groups that are working in Vienna on the lifting of US sanctions and return of Iran to full compliance with its nuclear commitments.

The preliminary results may come out this evening, Mikhail Ulyanov said via Twitter.

Two expert-level groups continue their work in Vienna on #US sanctions lifting and return of #Iran to full compliance with its nuclear commitments under #JCPOA. The preliminary results may known this evening.— Mikhail Ulyanov (@Amb_Ulyanov) April 8, 2021

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