TEHRAN – Top Iranian nuclear negotiator has called on the U.S. to lift its sanctions on Iran all at once, warning that Tehran could halt nuclear negotiations if they turn into a waste of time.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi, who led Iran’s negotiating team in Vienna talks on Tuesday, once again reiterated call on the U.S. to remove its sanction in one step, saying that Iran will not accept a step-by-step process for reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“The United States must lift its anti-Iran sanctions altogether and in one step if it truly seeks to rejoin the 2015 nuclear agreement,” Araghchi was quoted by Press TV as saying on the sidelines of the Vienna nuclear talks, which took place on Tuesday.
reaffirmed that the gathering did not feature any American representatives, and that it just involved Iran’s discussions with the remaining JCPOA participants or the P4+1 — Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany.
The remaining signatories “would then later talk with Americans. And that’s their business. We’re not engaged in that business. We only negotiate with the P4+1.”
He also reflected on comments coming out of Washington alleging that Tehran’s assertion that the U.S. has to lift the sanctions first showed the Islamic Republic’s lack of seriousness in the JCPOA’s revival.
Such remarks, Araghchi said, are indicative of “a lack of seriousness on their [own] side since they have left the JCPOA, and they have imposed sanctions.”
“That is quite logical and a very reasonable demand by the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Araghchi said. “They (Americans) have left the JCPOA, and they have imposed sanctions. So obviously if they want to come back, they will have to lift all those sanctions, all together, in one step.”
The Iranian negotiator noted that Iran had never sought to avoid compliance with the nuclear accord, saying if Tehran was after such a goal, it would have left the deal far earlier after Washington quit it.
Araghchi commented on a tweet by the Russian envoy to the Vienna-based organizations, Mikhail Ulyanov, who has called the talks “successful.”
He said the parties to the talks “are on the right track,” and Iran was likewise “hopeful,” otherwise it would not join the negotiations.
However, the negotiator stated that the talks could only be described as a success if “the other side can meet our demands.”
In separate remarks to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) News Agency, Araghchi described the Tuesday meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission as “constructive.”
“I can say that it was a constructive meeting as a whole. We agreed to form two working groups; one in the field of sanctions and the other in the field of nuclear and these two working groups consisting of all members of the Joint Commission, namely Iranian experts plus experts from the P4 + 1 countries without the presence of the United States,” the deputy foreign minister said.
He added, “It was also agreed in the Joint Commission that the return of the two parties is not a step-by-step process and we do not need step-by-step policies. The steps that the Americans must take are quite clear, as well as what Iran must do to return to its commitments. So both sets of actions can be done in one step. Of course, we will do our set of actions after the Americans have done their part and after it was verified.”
“Iran may halt nuclear talks if it concludes they are a waste of time”
In an interview with Nour News, Araghchi also warned that Iran may halt the nuclear talks if it concludes that these talks are a waste of time.
“If we see that the negotiating parties are looking to waste time or pursue other goals, we will stop the negotiations at this level,” he cautioned.
Araghchi once again underlined that there will be no step-by-step process to lift sanctions.
Echoing Araqchi, Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, also said in an interview with Press TV that the United States has to return to compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal by lifting its anti-Iran sanctions all at once, asserting that the Islamic Republic accepts no “step-for-step” approach in this regard.
He said the talks held so far have been focused on how the parties attending the Commission “could make sure that the U.S. will get back to full compliance and effectively remove all imposed, re-imposed or re-labeled sanctions after it ceased its participation in the JCPOA.”
The spokesman said the Commission’s first gathering had agreed to continue the talks at “two parallel expert meetings.”
Khatibzadeh repeated the Islamic Republic’s assertion that the country would be ready to stop its retaliatory nuclear steps should the U.S. get back to compliance with the deal in a manner that could be verified by Tehran.
He also dismissed rumors that the U.S. had agreed to unfreeze some Iranian funds in exchange for Tehran stopping uranium enrichment at 20-percent-level purity and end its application of advanced centrifuges.
The spokesman said Iran’s position was “crystal clear,” and again denied Tehran’s approval of any “step-for-step” plan.
“We have just one step and that is the removal of all the sanctions imposed,” Khatibzadeh said.
“Iran won’t accept division of sanctions”
Iran also rejected any division of the U.S. sanctions into those that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal and the ones unrelated to the nuclear issues, a senior Iranian official told Press TV on Wednesday.
The senior official said, “Iran will not accept a division of the Trump-era sanctions into JCPOA-related [ones] and [those] unrelated to the JCPOA.”
“For Iran, all the American sanctions — including the Obama-era sanctions, the sanctions restored by Trump and the additional sanctions in the Trump-era labeled as non-nuclear — must be terminated,” the official added.
“Iran does not accept and recognize negotiations on a division of the sanctions,” the official emphasized. “Iran’s condition for returning to its JCPOA commitments is the lasting removal of all the sanctions.”
The official said America and Europe must guarantee that the sanctions will not be restored on Iran again after removal.
The official further emphasized that “a short period of time” will not be enough to verify the termination of the sanctions.
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