“It is natural for Tehran not to think of dialogue with Washington in any format until realities on the ground change,” Saeed Khatibzadeh said at a weekly press conference on Monday.
Khatibzadeh stressed that the negotiations in Austria’s capital, Vienna, are intended to ensure a “definite, committed and practical return of the United States to its obligations” under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), using the official name of the nuclear deal.
The Iranian diplomat went on to dismiss the US’s claim of its readiness to return to the negotiations in order to reach an outcome, stating that Washington’s plan and actions have so far failed to prove such a claim.
“We have already had enough of empty words. We have been waiting for an action that has been delayed for months,” he said.
‘No dialog between Tehran, Washington’
Khatibzadeh further slammed Washington for its illegal withdrawal from the JCPOA and subsequent violation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, stressing that the US has spared no effort to kill the nuclear deal, slapped various cruel sanctions against the Iranian nation, impeded trade transactions between Iran and other countries, penalized companies that have cooperated with the Islamic Republic, and even punished its own allies.
“There has been no dialogue between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States for a long time. No direct or indirect contacts or meetings have been held ever since the US nixed the JCPOA [in May 2018] as a member of its Joint Commission,” he said.
The spokesman also stated that technical issues must be discussed within their own framework, especially as such issues could cause misunderstandings among the public opinion.
‘Trump made mockery of UNSC member states’
Khatibzadeh said Iran and the P4+1 group, which refers to the remaining signatories to the JCPOA – Russia, China, Britain, and France – plus Germany, have been calling on the United States to practically substantiate its claims, provide firm assurances, and demonstrate its fierce determination.
“What [former US President Donald] Trump did was not only the mockery of UN Security Council member states but also the travesty of international law and mechanisms,” he said.
Khatibzadeh also hailed interactions between the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as technical and professional.
Trump left the JCPOA in May 2018 and re-imposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the deal had lifted.
He also placed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of his “maximum pressure” campaign.
Following a year of strategic patience, Iran resorted to its legal rights stipulated in Article 26 of the JCPOA, which grants a party the right to suspend its contractual commitments in case of non-compliance by other signatories and let go of some of the restrictions imposed on its nuclear energy program.
Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA have held six rounds of talks in Vienna, which began after the US administration of Joe Biden voiced a willingness to rejoin the nuclear agreement, three years after Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from the deal.
While disagreements on key issues persisted, the participants took a break from the talks after Ebrahim Raeisi emerged victorious in Iran’s June presidential election, and waited for Iran’s democratic transition to take place to continue the talks.
The scope of the sanctions removal and the need for the US to guarantee that it would not ditch the JCPOA again are among the key issues not settled during the administration of former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
In recent weeks, there has been mounting pressure on Tehran to return to the negotiating table. The Raeisi administration has announced on several occasions that it will resume the talks only to remove all of the United States’ illegal sanctions and that it will not take part in negotiations for the sake of negotiations.