Iran warns Washington not to cancel all sanctions or nuclear talks will fail

Tehran’s chief negotiator has warned that the first talks that the new Iranian government is scheduled to hold with international powers over the country’s nuclear program will fail unless the United States agrees to a major set of conditions.

The main objective of the negotiations in Vienna is the Biden administration’s return to the historic agreement that former US President Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned while imposing punitive sanctions on Iran.

But Ali Bagheri Kani stressed that any progress on this front must be preceded by the abolition of all US sanctions, and a guarantee that the future administration in Washington will not again renege on the agreement as Mr. Trump has done.

Talking to independent With talks on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) set to resume in Vienna on Monday, Mr. Bagheri Kani also complained that the Biden administration was repeating some of its predecessor’s mistakes and continuing the “failed policy” of “maximum pressure” on Tehran, which has caused Political confusion.

The warning from Bagheri Kani, who is also the deputy foreign minister, came at a time of increasing uncertainty and concern over Iran’s nuclear programme. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Wednesday that talks in Tehran had failed to get the United Nations inspectors suspended from accessing nuclear sites.

The lack of access poses serious problems to verify what is happening and may jeopardize the survival of the JCPOA, Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said.

He added that the agency “was close to the point where I would no longer be able to guarantee continuity of knowledge.” And he wanted to emphasize that it was necessary “to come to an agreement: we must.”

The meeting in Vienna comes after the election of conservative Ebrahim Raisi last summer in the Iranian presidential elections, which was followed by a pause in the talks that were underway between Tehran and the other signatories – Britain, France, Germany, Russia and other countries. China – which stuck to the agreement signed after long and comprehensive efforts in 2015.

There is widespread recognition among the other signatories that the JCPOA will not function properly unless the United States joins the deal. There will be an American team in the Austrian capital, but it will not meet with the Iranians, while messages are passed through the other delegations.

But Mr. Bagheri Kani said independentThe removal of all JCPOA-related sanctions such as those imposed under the ‘maximum pressure’ campaign is a necessary condition for the success of negotiations.

“Demanding guarantees from the other side not to exit the deal, not to impose and enforce new sanctions, and not to re-impose and re-apply previous sanctions, is intended to neutralize the possibility that political chaos in the United States will have an impact on its international behavior.”

Senior diplomats say the Americans are ready to drop some sanctions.

It is believed that the Biden administration will consider declaring that it will not leave the JCPOA if it rejoins. But it is unable, under the Constitution, to impose such restrictions on future administrations.

Trump’s defeat in the 2020 US presidential election appears to promise a revival of the nuclear deal, with Biden’s team setting the prospect of Washington returning to it in the first year and even expanding it to something “longer and stronger” and including other issues related to Iran.

It was said that there was a possible initial agreement on the terms of future negotiations between Washington and Tehran when the talks were suspended five months ago.

But little progress has been made since then without further talks and the bulk of US sanctions remaining in place. Biden’s waning popularity and the Democrats’ recent defeats in the US elections in November, including a landslide loss in the Virginia gubernatorial election, have raised Iranian fears that Republicans could win the 2024 presidential election with the prospect of Trump returning to the White House.

Meanwhile, Tehran claims that the Biden administration is not taking the necessary steps to start talks. Mr. Bagheri Kani commented: “Unfortunately, the failed policy of pursuing the maximum pressure campaign, which was initiated in the Trump administration, remains on the agenda of the Biden administration.

“President Biden needs to remove sanctions in order to get rid of what we see as political confusion and to pursue the failed and inhumane policies of the Trump administration.”

Mr. Bagheri Kani emphasized that while the Biden administration failed to move forward with talks on the nuclear issue, the Biden administration’s actions on another major foreign policy concern, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, damaged its credibility in the Middle East and helped Iran’s relations with countries in the region.

The United States’ flight from Afghanistan demonstrated another example where the United States is not considered a reliable partner for anyone. He said that we are in close, continuous and intense dialogue with the countries of the region.

Relations between Iran and Britain have been affected due to the continued detention of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian national, in Iran.

Richard Ratcliffe, husband of Iranian detainee Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, on the 19th day of his hunger strike outside the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in London earlier this month


It is believed what happens next in the case will depend on the $400m (£300m) case the UK owes Iran in exchange for a deal worth 1,500 battle tanks in the mid-1970s. The vast majority of Zaim tanks were not delivered after the overthrow of the Shah and the establishment of an Islamic Republic in Iran in 1979.

The British government lost a series of legal proceedings, including international arbitration in The Hague, over the money owed, but has not yet paid Iran, and refused to explain why the non-payment.

And government officials have previously confirmed that paying the debt would breach European Union and United States sanctions on Iran. But the UK is no longer part of the European Union and Washington has said it will be the UK’s “sovereign decision” about what it does with the money.

“The British government must pay its debts in full, the problems with the repayment of this debt are the prerogative of the United Kingdom government.” Mr. Bagheri Kani said.

The Iranian negotiator met with British officials and Foreign Secretary James Cleverly to discuss the nuclear deal as well as the imprisonment of Zaghari-Ratcliffe on a visit to London earlier this month.

Mr. Bagheri Kani also visited a number of other European capitals to talk about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. In Tehran’s view, the European signatories to the deal did not do enough to defend it against US sanctions.

He said, “The Europeans should rectify their non-compliance with the JCPOA by implementing practical steps to lift sanctions. We measure the positions of other countries taking into account our own interests. Their contact and interaction with the United States is not a matter of discussion for us. The country that has a seat at the table should be Negotiations are able to pursue independent policies, otherwise why should they be on the table?”

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