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US signature for rejoining JCPOA ‘invalid’ without sections removal: Envoy

The Iranian ambassador to the United Nations says any signature from the party that unilaterally left the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), would be invalid as long as verification with regard to the complete removal of illegal sanctions against Tehran cannot be performed as a condition for rejoining the landmark accord.

Majid Takht-Ravanchi made the remarks in an interview on Friday, saying Iran cannot be satisfied with only a signed letter from the US administration and that their signature would not make sense if it was not accompanied by a process for verifying their actions.

“It is of no value to just say that we are ready to return to the JCPOA, but rather, these sanctions should be lifted in practice,” Takht-Ravanchi underlined.

The Iranian envoy said the country was subject to three kinds of sanctions and that there was no point in Washington’s returning to the deal if none of those restrictive measures were repealed.

“If it is announced that the embargo on Iranian oil has been lifted, there should be guarantees that there will be no problem in selling oil and the buyer should be able to easily transfer the money to Iran through the global banking system,” Takht-Ravanchi noted.

He also underlined that the European parties to the JCPOA had promised to make amends for the losses inflicted on Iran following the US withdrawal from the deal but they did not fulfill their obligations.

US President Joe Biden announced on Friday that America was ready to “re-engage” with the group of countries that are party to the 2015 nuclear deal, less than three years after his predecessor, Donald Trump, pulled Washington out of the multilateral accord.

Biden said his administration was “prepared to re-engage in negotiations” within the “P5+1” of countries, which initially negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran — namely France, Britain, Germany, the US, Russia and China.

The agreement’s future has been in doubt since May 2018, when Trump withdrew his country out of the JCPOA, which he called the “worst deal ever,” and called for new negotiations for a “better” deal with Iran, which would address Washington’s intrusive demands from the Islamic Republic, including its national defense program and its influential regional role.

Succumbing to Washington’s pressure, the European co-signatories, in turn, failed to fulfill their contractual commitments to Tehran, including confronting the harsh economic sanctions that the US restored on Iran after abandoning the UN-endorsed Iran deal.

That prompted Tehran to begin a set of counter-measures a year later in several phases based on the legal mechanisms stipulated in Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA.

Biden has pledged to return the US to the JCPOA, but his administration has conditioned a return to the nuclear deal on Tehran’s resumption of the commitments it has suspended under the JCPOA.

Tehran has, however, refused to return to full compliance with the JCPOA while the US sanctions are still in place. Iran wants Washington to lift its unilateral bans practically and verifiably before the country reverses the steps it has taken away from the accord.

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