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US sanctions must be removed in practice rather than on paper, says top Iranian negotiator

Iran’s permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations says US sanctions on Iran must be removed in practice, rather than on paper.

“The sanctions must be removed practically, not on paper,” Kazem Gharibabadi said in a Friday interview with the official website of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, echoing the leader’s remarks.

“That is why the Leader of the Revolution also raised the issue of verifying the removal of sanctions and it became the policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is reflected, stressed and followed up in various talks,” he added.

Gharibabadi, a top negotiator who is currently engaged in multilateral talks in Vienna, explained that the verification of the removal of US sanctions by Iran means that the Islamic Republic should be able to clinch oil deals, export its oil and receive its revenues as a result.

He said that under a verifiable removal, Iran should be able to conduct banking transactions through international banks and monetary channels. “Only then, one can it be assured that the removal of sanctions has practical effects.”

On Thursday, Ayatollah Khamenei’s Instagram page published similar remarks by the Leader, who said the removal of sanctions must be verified by Tehran, which means “selling oil in an official manner with ease and under normal conditions, and receiving its money by Iran.”

Official talks are underway in Vienna to revive the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was ditched by former US President Donald Trump in pursuit of a provocative policy against the Islamic Republic, whereas Tehran had remained fully compliant with the terms and conditions of the nuclear agreement.

The talks are held under the Joint Commission of the JCPOA and include the remaining parties to the JCPOA – Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany – while excluding the United States.

Nevertheless, the US has sent a delegation led by its Iran envoy, Robert Malley, to Vienna to coordinate an expected revitalization of the nuclear deal.

The JCPOA participants held an online session last Friday, when they agreed to meet in Vienna on Tuesday. The Tuesday meeting was hailed as “constructive” by Iran, the participant states and the US. The sides also agreed to hold the next round of negotiations today, but said the talks would be even further extended.

Ayatollah Khamenei reiterated Iran’s position that it is in no hurry for Washington to come back to the nuclear deal, asserting that the US must first remove all of the sanctions if the West wants Iran to return to fully honoring its nuclear obligations.

In his Friday interview, Gharibabadi explained Iran’s stance with regard to the sanctions that must be removed. 

“It is completely clear which sanctions much be removed,” he said. “First, all the sanctions that were lifted under the JCPOA but were re-imposed by the US administration (under Trump) must be removed.”

“Second, the Trump administration imposed new sanctions in addition to the sanctions that were removed under the JCPOA. These sanctions must be removed as well.”

“Third, there are sanctions that were imposed under non-nuclear pretexts. These sanctions must also be removed completely,” he said, adding that Iran’s stance has been announced clearly by the Iranian negotiators in the Joint Commission of the JCPOA as well as in other meetings.

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