Speaking in Tehran on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh dismissed French President Emmanuel Macron’s offer to mediate between Iran and the US on renegotiating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“Europe and the current US government must either seriously distance themselves from the past and show that they are a reliable party to the JCPOA, because our trust has been completely damaged after we saw their non-compliance, or go down the previous path. Our stance has been clarified at the highest level by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei,” he said.
Ayatollah Khamenei said on Sunday that Tehran’s “final and irreversible” decision is to return to compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal only if Washington fully lifts the sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
“If they want Iran to return to its commitments, they must completely lift all sanctions in action, and not just in words or on paper,” the Leader said in a televised speech to air force commanders.
The new administration of US President Joe Biden has expressed willingness to return to the deal, but insisted that Tehran first resume full compliance.
Khatibzadeh said, “We do not care about words. The basis of our judgment is their actions. Its framework is specified by the JCPOA and [UN Security Council] Resolution 2231. The United States should return to the JCPOA and its commitments under Resolution 2231, and once it returns to its obligations, it may sit at the negotiating table.”
The JCPOA was reached between Iran and a group of countries then known as the P5+1 — which included the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany — in July 2015. It was ratified in the form of UNSC Resolution 2231.
In May 2018, however, then US president Donald Trump unilaterally pulled his country out of the JCPOA and reimposed the sanctions that had been lifted under the nuclear deal.
Iran remained fully compliant with the JCPOA for an entire year, as verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), waiting for the co-signatories to honor their commitments and offset the impacts of the US withdrawal.
But, as the European parties continued to renege on their obligations, the Islamic Republic moved in May 2019 to suspend some of its JCPOA commitments under articles of the deal covering Tehran’s legal rights in case of non-compliance by the other side.
Iran has begun enriching uranium to 20 percent purity and said it would experiment with uranium metals used in generating electricity.
Following the assassination last November of an Iranian scientist credited with spearheading the country’s nuclear energy program, Iran’s parliament approved a law to block nuclear inspectors later this month.
Khatibzadeh warned that Iran’s suspension of its commitments may affect its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol and UN inspections of its nuclear sites.
“We will take our measures according to the timetable,” he said.
Khatibzadeh said Iran welcomed any move on the part of Washington to drop the bullying approach practiced by the previous administration, adding however that “we still need to see it in practice.”
“We are waiting for the other side to take action on the resumption of all their obligations. If they fulfill that, we will immediately move to return to all our commitments as well.”