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US must ‘effectively’ remove all anti-Iran restrictions before returning to JCPOA: Top lawmaker

Iran’s Parliament speaker says the incoming US administration’s likely return to the 2015 nuclear deal means nothing if all anti-Iran restrictions are not lifted.

Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf says the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was basically about the removal of sanctions against the Iranian nation.

Without “effective” removal of sanctions, the US return to the JCPOA will be irrelevant, Qalibaf said in an exclusive interview with, the official website of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, published on Tuesday.

The interview has been subsumed under a section of the website titled “Definitive Statement” that covers Iranian officials’ observations on the Leader’s recent comments about the United States’ obligations towards the Islamic Republic.

“If the US wants to return to the JCPOA, it must first cancel the sanctions it imposed on Iran following its withdrawal from the deal, and implement its JCPOA commitments,” he noted.

Qalibaf then explained the meaning of “effective” removal of sanctions. “It means we would be able to do our job in the economic sector normally and flawlessly, export our oil, export and import other goods; our banking system could fulfil its duty as usual; and the assets and money we have in other countries are unfrozen.”

“These measures must be taken in practice, and our nation, people and economic system see them in practice,” he added.

However, Qalibaf warned, it will not be acceptable to Iran if US sanctions removal does not happen in practice even if Washington claims it has lifted them on paper.

“The Americans have created these barriers, and they are the ones who must remove them. This is a clear demand,” Qalibaf made it clear.

“This is what we mean when we say the removal of sanctions must take place in practice;… we saw the signing [of the JCPOA] when [Barack] Obama and John Kerry were in office; we fulfilled our commitments, and they fulfilled theirs on paper, but we could not even import medicine,” the top lawmaker said.

Qalibaf’s remarks came after Leader Ayatollah Khamenei asserted that Iran’s “ultimate and definitive” position on the matter was that the US had to primarily lift its sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Delivering a televised address on Friday, Ayatollah Khamenei called the Iranians’ right to lead a sanctions-free existence “a right that has been usurped” by Washington.

This, the Leader noted, was Iran’s “logical and rational” demand from the US, instead of a mere ceremonial return to the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and others, under which Washington is supposed to lift the sanctions.

In similar comments, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Leader’s website that Iran has to effectively feel the results of any potential sanctions relief from the United States, not merely a toothless signature, in case Washington decided to return to its obligations under the 2015 nuclear agreement.

“The US’s mere return to the JCPOA under the current circumstances does not suffice,” Zarif said.

“It will not do if Mr. Biden suffices to signing” the US’s return to the deal, he said in reference to an expression of willingness on the part of Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, to potentially bring the US back into the JCPOA.

“Although, signing [it] is the necessary condition, the sufficient condition here is witnessing the effects of the US actions,” Zarif added.

“The US has to first live up to its obligations” of terminating all these complications and help restore Iran’s trade ties with the world back to normal, Zarif said. Then, the issue of its return to the JCPOA can be addressed, he added.

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